Rhodes Wine Country
Blessed with an ideal climate for grape growing and renowned as one of the most important Greek wine growing regions, the island of Rhodes has nurtured a tradition of wine production since the seventh century BC. The cultivation of Malvasian grapes really put the island on the map, fast becoming one of the principal Mediterranean wines.
Today, Rhodes has around 7,500 acres of vineyards with two appellations (Rhodes and Muscat of Rhodes) producing a range of varietals, including native Aegean grapes like Athiri, Moschato Aspro, and Mandilaria. Many of the island’s wineries welcome visitors for tours and tastings, and guided excursions typically include stops at several traditional wineries in a single outing. It’s also possible to combine a winery tour and tasting with a visit to the island’s spectacular Butterfly Valley nature reserve or a hike to the ruined Monolithos Castle.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The town of Embonas is considered the wine capital of Rhodes, an excellent place to start your explorations.
- Book a guided tour with included transportation to leave the driving to someone else.
- Most wineries on Rhodes also offer olive oil and honey tastings for non drinkers.
How to Get There
Wineries on Rhodes are scattered across the island. CAIR, the largest wine producer, is near the town of Rhodes, while many other prominent wineries are further south, near the villages of Embonas and Siana. The towns of Emery, Kounaki, and Alexandris are known for their smaller family-run wineries.
When to Get There
The best time to visit Rhodes wine country is during the fall harvest season, when wineries are at their most active and the village streets are filled with baskets of raisins soaking up the sun. Many wineries also host traditional dance performers during the summer high season.
Many wineries on Rhodes make a traditional drink, called souma, from their grapes. After the grapes are pressed, their pulp is fermented in large barrels with sea water, then boiled and distilled into a strong spirit, often with more than 40 percent alcohol by volume. Many Greek taverns serve souma as a complimentary digestif.
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