Rethymno was officially declared European Wine City, Dyonisos 2018 by the European Network of Wine Cities, Recevin. The city holds a long tradition regarding wine production and is also home to the star variety of the island, Vidiano.
Nights in Rethymno are about to come alive starting this weekend. On June 30, the first of a series of events related to local wine promotion kicks off with an Under the Stars Wine Tasting Evening in the Fortezza of Rethymno.
Just a few months ago, the Cretan city of Rethymno has been declared European Wine City by Recevinwhich is a European Network of Wine Cities. Recevin counts with the support of National Wine Associations present in most of the 11 country members of the network (Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Spain, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal and Serbia), making it a total of about 800 cities in Europe.
Rethymno is the third most important Cretan city, and it is located on the northern coast of the island. The prefecture of Rethymno is also home to one of the largest vineyards in Greece and has a production of 950 thousand hectolitres per year. Besides, the positive effects of the Mediterranean weather, plenty of sunshine, mild winds and the influence of the sea and the mountains, all contribute to form an outstanding microclimate, excellent for growing top quality grapes.
One of the members of the local European Wine City Committee, Mrs. Katerina Xekalou confirms that Rethymno is no newcomer when it comes to local wine. In fact, the city used to be the place where over a hundred years ago an important festival would gather locals in the Municipal Garden to celebrate local wines. The event, which gradually faded and finally stopped being celebrated by the mid-nineties was a great opportunity to dance, sing, meet friends and enjoy homemade wine from the area.
Stelios Klados, a young local wine producerand owner of Klados Winery confirms that Rethymno’s wine industry has a leading role in the Cretan landscape of wine production. He explains that grape growing as well as wine production has been a key resource for the inhabitants Rethymno over more than a hundred years. In the area, this can be ratified by the old presses that have been discovered in several archaeological sites of the prefecture.
Over the centuries, Crete has undergone endless foreign domination which not only damaged the local economy on several aspects but the wine industry in particular as well. This past, however never stopped the local interest in wine production, giving place to an active movement during the last years of the past century, devoted to promoting local wine and resulting in the certification of eleven Cretan varieties (seven whites and four reds).
Mr. Klados also tells us that the famous Cretan variety, Malvasia, based on four native white varieties, is produced exclusively by vineyards of the prefectures of Rethymno and Heraklion, and it has been successfully exported throughout Europe for more than three centuries.
Vidiano, considered the most versatile variety of Crete, has also established the basis for the Cretan Malvasia, a wine whith big reputation beyond the borders of the island, Greece and Europe. Another important local variety, the red Liatiko has been at the core of Rethymno’s vilification for decades. Currently, coupled with modern winemaking methods, Liatiko is resulting in high quality and modern red wines.
Vineyards in Rethymno count Liatiko and Vidiano among the main grapes cultivated in an area of about 2,500 hectares, with vineyards producing some of the most important wines of Crete.
Being the European Wine City 2018 offers Rethymno as well as its local producers an exciting opportunity to inform consumers about the importance of local wines, Cretan varieties, and wine production.
Among the different European Wine City activities, Rethymno will host events dedicated to wine promotion and the Cretan diet in general. Events start with what is expected to be a marvelous wine tasting experience in the romantic scenario of the Venetian Fortezza, right in front of the Cretan Sea. Other meetings and events will take place during the whole week, extend into the summer and finish in April next year. These include activities for children, concerts, dances, and wine pairing lessons offered by the best sommeliers of the island.