35° 25' 2.6976'' N


24° 31' 48.0180'' E




about this region

Crete is an island located in the Mediterranean Sea, south of mainland Greece. Known for its rich history and cultural heritage, Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands. With a total area of approximately 8,336 square kilometers, it offers diverse landscapes, from stunning coastlines to rugged mountains. Its strategic location has made it an important commercial center throughout history.

This region is currently continuing to grow. In fact, according to data from the Central Cooperative Union of Grape Wine Products (KESOE), in 2022 the region's wine-growing area was 640,206 hectares, 0.51% more than the area recorded in 2021 (636,965 hectares).



Vineyard Hectares



3,000 - 3,800

growing degree days

Discover Terroir

Crete is an island situated in the Mediterranean Sea, positioned to the south of mainland Greece. Known for its rich history and cultural heritage, Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands. With a total area of approximately 8,336 square kilometers, it offers diverse landscapes, ranging from stunning coastlines to rugged mountains. The island's strategic location has made it a significant hub for trade and commerce throughout history.

The climate in the Crete wine region is Mediterranean, featuring hot and dry summers as well as mild and wet winters. This climate is influenced by the region's location in the Mediterranean Sea, south of mainland Greece. The summers are characterized by high temperatures and limited rainfall, creating optimal conditions for grape cultivation. The mild and wet winters provide necessary moisture for the vineyards and contribute to the overall health of the grapevines. The Mediterranean climate of the Crete wine region plays a significant role in shaping the unique characteristics of the wines produced there.

The soil composition in Crete varies across different regions. 

  • Eastern Crete has clay and limestone soil, which is fertile and suitable for agriculture. Central Crete has a diverse soil composition of clay, loam, and sand, providing a favorable environment for various crops. 
  • Western Crete has clay and marl soil, which retains moisture and supports agricultural productivity. 
  • Southern Crete has sandy loam and limestone soil, offering good drainage and nutrient retention.
  • Finally, Northern Crete has a combination of clay, loam, and sandy soil, creating a fertile environment for agriculture.


Here are some of the commonly grown and popular grape varietals in Crete, categorized by color:

Red Grape Varietals:

  • Kotsifali: A red grape variety that is widely cultivated in Crete. It produces medium-bodied red wines with fruity flavors and a smooth finish.
  • Mandilaria: Another prominent red grape variety in Crete, known for producing deeply colored wines with robust tannins and flavors of dark fruits.

White Grape Varietals:

  • Vilana: A widely planted white grape variety in Crete, known for producing light and refreshing wines with citrus and floral aromas.
  • Vidiano: Considered one of the flagship white grape varietals of Crete, Vidiano produces aromatic and full-bodied wines with flavors of ripe fruits and floral notes.
  • Thrapsathiri: This white grape variety is well-suited to the Mediterranean climate of Crete and produces wines with delicate aromas, crisp acidity, and flavors of citrus and stone fruits.
  • Malvasia di Candia Aromatica: Known for its aromatic profile, this grape variety is used to produce wines with floral and fruity notes, often with a hint of sweetness.

It's important to note that Cretan winemakers also experiment with other grape varietals, both indigenous and international, to create a diverse range of wines. The above list represents some of the most popular and widely recognized grape varietals in Crete. You can learn more about all of the indigenous grape varieties of Crete here.

The Crete wine region produces a  great variety of red and white wines. But without a doubt, the most popular are, on the red wine side, Kotsifali, Mandilaria and Liatiko, while on the white wine side the three most popular wines are Vidiano, Vilana, and Thrapsathiri.

Next, we will tell you more about the fantastic red wines you will find in Crete:

  • Kotsifali is a full-bodied wine. This wine has some notes that may remind you of delicious red fruits with a bit of spiciness in the aftertaste, and some subtle floral notes in the aroma. 
  • Mandilaria, on the other hand, is a medium-bodied wine with a deep red color. This wine will offer notes that may remind you of dark fruits such as cherry, as well as some distinguished herbaceous notes on the nose, while in the more complex wines you will find notes of leather. 
  • Finally, if you are looking for richer wines, then Liatiko is your best choice. This wine, which can range from medium-bodied to full-bodied, offers a rich, fruity aroma and a velvety texture. But undoubtedly the most remarkable thing about this wine is that it can be consumed in 2 variants: as a dry or as a sweet wine.  Of the two, the most interesting variant, and the one for which the Liatiko grape is most commonly used, are the sweet wines. These not only have a great concentrated acidity, but also have much more intense notes than dry wines, due to the sun-drying process that the grapes receive prior to vinification. The notes of Liatiko wines can remind you of ripe fruits, as well as sweet spices.

Now, we will tell you about the distinctive characteristics of the exquisite white wines of Crete:

  • Vidiano is a white wine  known for its aromatic and fruity character, that can present notes that will remind you of citrus, pear, and tropical fruit.
  • On the other hand Vilana is a white dry and refreshing wine that has notes that can remind you of green apple, lemon, and herb flavors.
  • Finally, Thrapsathiri is known for its delicate floral aroma and flavors of peach, apricot, and citrus fruits. 

100 - 800 m


500 - 800 mm


The soil varies between areas. For example, Eastern Crete has clay and limestone soil, while Southern Crete has sandy loam and limestone soils.

top varietal

Kotsifali, Mandilaria, Vilana, Vidiano, Thrapsathiri and Malvasia di Candia Aromatica

History of wine

The history of winemaking in the Crete wine region dates back thousands of years, making it one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. Located in the southern part of Greece, the island of Crete has a rich viticultural heritage that spans millennia.

Ancient Greek mythology and historical accounts highlight the significance of wine in Crete's cultural and social fabric. The island has been associated with wine since ancient times, with Cretan wines often praised in ancient Greek literature and considered prestigious in the Mediterranean world.

Crete's winemaking traditions were influenced by various civilizations that settled on the island over the centuries. The Minoans, one of the earliest known civilizations in Europe, played a crucial role in the development of Cretan viticulture. They cultivated vineyards and produced wine as evidenced by archaeological findings of ancient winepresses and storage vessels.

Wine production in Crete recorded a great growth between the 67th century B.C. and 330 330 A.D., when it was part of the Roman Empire. The Romans saw in the fertile soils of Crete a great potential for viticulture, and quickly the plains and hills of the region began to be covered with vineyards.

During the Byzantine period, winemaking in Crete continued to flourish, with vine cultivation expanding across the island. Monasteries and churches played a significant role in preserving winemaking knowledge and techniques during this time.

The Venetian occupation of Crete from the 12 th to the end of the 16th century left a lasting impact on the island's viticulture. Venetian merchants recognized the quality of Cretan wines and played a key role in their trade and distribution throughout Europe. The Venetians introduced new grape varieties and advanced winemaking methods, leaving a legacy of wine culture and expertise that still influences the region today.

In 1669, Crete became part of the Ottoman Empire. It is believed that this produced a great decline in the popularity of wine in Crete between the late 16th and 19th centuries, due to the prohibition of wine production and consumption by Islam.

In more recent history, Crete's wine industry faced challenges during the phylloxera epidemic during 1974, which devastated vineyards across Europe. However, Crete's wine industry made a remarkable recovery in the 20th century, with vineyards being replanted and modern winemaking techniques adopted.