For Wine Enthusiasts we can arrange a trip to a local winery in the foothills of The White Mountains, near Vrysses. The winery was built by the amiable owner, Andreas, on land that was passed down to him by his father who had always grown grapes on this land. Andreas designed the winery himself and built it using local stone, pine and cypress. He works with his wife, son and daughter, and this small family business amazingly produces 300,000 bottles of wine a year for both local consumption and for export.
Andreas or his daughter, Evie, will take you on a tour of the winery and explain the wine making process to you. There is a room that has many of the old implements which have been used for farming over the years by Andreas’ ancestors. These include a winding grape press, a donkey saddle and wicker panniers, a corn thresher, a plough that was attached to horses (used by Andreas when he was younger), and an old weaving loom. The winery has huge, cool cellars beneath the main building. Amongst the things that you will see, and Andreas will explain all about, are the huge 600 litre oak barrels that Andreas has imported from France that are used to mature the red wines. It is important that the barrels are made from oak as the vanilla and tannin in the wood adds to the flavour of the wine. After 3 years, Andreas sells these barrels to the local villagers (for their own krassi making) as he feels that the tannin and vanilla will no longer be strong enough. The red wine is matured in these oak barrels and then put into bottles where it is stored whilst it ages. You will also learn about the white wine production and see the different machinery that Andreas uses including machines that remove the stalks from the grapes and machines that press the grapes.
The Winery experience ends in the large family dining room. Like the rest of the house, the walls are local stone and the ceilings are made from local timber. The furniture is all hand made and carved with traditional Cretan symbols by Giorgos Nikiforakis in the nearby village of Pemonia. You have the choice of a small meze (snacks) with a small selection of wines or a full dinner (generally 4 courses) with a selection of wines. All the delicious and fresh food is cooked by Andreas’ wife Eleni, and the ingredients are produced at the winery. All the cheeses and yoghurt are home made, the eggs are freshly laid, the vegetables are home grown and the meat is reared by the family.