The wines of Cyprus date back to ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian times. Enjoyed in abundance since the days of antiquity, Cyprus wines have been of great importance to local life through the ages. Testifying to their importance is the recent discovery in Pafos of old coins depicting a vine on one side, evidence that wine was a major source of the island's wealth. There is further proof of their significance in the portray also the first wine makers making merry across the mosaics floors in Pafos at the House of Dionysus, the god of wine.
In the Middle Ages the famous Commandaria wines were enjoyed by travelers to the Holy Land, while in the 19th century, wines were sold in goat skins. The proliferation of new wineries in the last few decades shows Cypriots remain true to their proud wine making tradition.The art of making wine was very well known in Cyprus well before the accounts of Greek geographer Strabo around the time of Christ. Botanical remains confirming the presence of vines on the island have been found at Neolithic and Chalcolithic archaeological sites in Cyprus.
The main wine growing area lies on the southern slopes of the Troodos Mountains, high up where the sun shines clear and hot. Visitors can sample the local wines at various locations, including villages, monasteries and various small wineries.
The classic grapes of Cyprus are the Mavro, Xinisteri, Opthalmo and Muscat varieties. These produce rich, vigorous, strong wines. Due to a concerted effort to broaden the range of local wines, more delicate, fruity, mellow wines made from European strains such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Grenache and Palomino are also available.