Crete: a place with a wine history of more than 4000 years!

Crete is the biggest island of Greece and the 5th biggest in the Mediterranean Sea.  It’s a land with an impressive array of biodiversity, a wealth of rare grape varieties, excellent vineyards and a long viti-vini-cultural history of more than 4000 years.

In the modern era, Crete is one of the most uprising wine regions. This article is aiming to be your introduction to the Cretan indigenous grapes, a first look into this impressive wine world that is worthy of exploring.


The most famous white grape of Crete. It is capable of making elegant and complex whites, especially when grown in cool, high altitude sites. Offers rich in texture wines with aromas of peaches and apricots.


Vilana is one of the most planted grapes in Crete, indisputably a classic of the Cretan vineyard. Offers wines with crispy acidity and citrus notes.


Old indigenous grape that was rescued from extinction by Lyrarakis family during the 90s, when it was planted in the family’s vineyard “Psarades” in Alagni village.


“Dafni” grape variety is named after the herb laurel (or bayleaf) because of the wine’s distinctive laurel-like, herbal aromatic character. It was almost extinct in the 90’s, until Lyrarakis family planted it to its private vineyard “Psarades”.


The third grape that Lyrarakis family contributed to save from extinction. The grape was rediscovered in 2008 and it’s now planted in “Gerodetis” vineyard, which is the first and only organized vineyard of this variety. Its name means “Little Bee”, possibly because of the honey and beeswax aromas.


Indigenous grape that was vinificated on its own for the first time in 2007 by Lyrarakis Winery. It creates distinctive and rich wines that match oak really nicely.

Muscat of Spina

Muscat is a famous variety grown in many parts of the world. Muscat of Spina is the Cretan clone that produces aromatic wines with charateristic notes of roses.


A classic of the Cretan vineyard. It is named after the blackbird “Kotsifos” which eats the grapes and builds its nests in the plants. Offers vivid wines with spicy aromas.


Old indigenous grape. Its name derives from July (Ioulios> Iouliatiko> Liatiko) due to the fact that the grapes ripen during that month.


Mandilari is one the most deep-coloured Greek grape varieties that traditionally was always blended. Since 2005 Lyrarakis winery highlights its independent wealth both in the vineyard and in the winemaking, creating a red wine with a long ageing potential.