Peza, the wine valley of Crete
Local Wineries and Exhibition Halls - Wine Tasting in Crete
Twenty percent (20%) of the Greek wine production comes from Crete. The vineyard in Crete has a surface approx 50.000 hectares and the wine production amounts to 950.000 hectolitres. Seventy percent (70%) of the wine production of Crete comes from the Peza area in Heraklion prefecture (district). There are three more main wine-producing areas in Crete: Arhanes and Dafnes in Heraklion prefecture and Sitia in Lassithi prefecture. Smaller quantities of wine is also produced in Chania prefecture.
Crete has the most traditional vineyard of Europe.
Grape cultivation has taken place in Crete since the Minoan era, 4,000 years ago
. The vineyards of Crete produce white, rose and red wines as well as raisins from the variety "Soultanina" and the table grape "Rozaki".
Cretan wine producers can be integrated into two categories: private producers and co-operatives.
The most important private producers are Minos, Lirarakis, Douloufakis, Paterianakis, Creta Olympias, Boutaris, Lidakis, Ntourakis, Mazanis, Oikonomou, Papadakis, Michalakis Bros.
The main co-operations are: Peza Union, Arhanes, Sitia, and Kissamos.
Four local varieties are vinificated: Vilana for the white, Kotsifali and Mandilari for the red and rose, as well as Liatiko for some dry and sweet red. Today there is an effort to cultivate more varieties, like the "Malvasia di Candia", a local variety which was abandoned in the past and became extinct, or some french varieties.
In Crete there are 4 areas "d' Appelation d' Origine" and these are: Peza (for dry white and red wines), Arhanes (for red dry wines), Dafnes (for dry and sweet red wines) and Sitia (for dry and sweet red wines).
Exhibition Halls of Wineries in Peza Area
Tourists in Crete have the option to visit the exhibition halls of three wineries in the Peza area. You may visit these halls on your own or join an organized tour to the area. Usually these tours are offered under the name "Unknown Crete" and they include also a visit to Thrapsano village, famous for its clay pottery, and the Nikos Kazantzakis Museum in Mirtia village.
The wineries you may visit are the:
- Fantaxometoho (Boutaris Winery)
- Minos Wines (Milliarakis Winery)
- Peza Union Winery
You should remember that all the above wineries are in the same area and you can combine a visit to them together with a visit to the Minoan Palace of Knossos (it is on the same road) or with a visit to the traditional village of Arhanes. You may also visit the Vathipetro archaeological site outside the village of Arhanes and see the Minoan wine press ( photo ) which was found there.
Knossos is 5 km from Heraklion, Arhanes is 12 km from Heraklion and 7 km from Knossos, Peza is 17 km from Heraklion.
The Boutari exhibition hall is inside an estate vineyard called Fantaxometocho.
The Fantaxometoho Estate on Crete lies just outside the village of Skalani, on the road towards the village of Mirtia, birthplace of the famous Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis. The distance from Heraklion is 8 km.
It is open to visitors every day from 10:00 until 18:00.
The exhibition hall of the Boutari Winery in Crete offers to the visitor:
- a guided tour of the production facilities
- a tour of the underground wine cellars
- a multi-media show of the history of winemaking in Naoussa
- an introduction to the art of wine-tasting
- the opportunity to enjoy wines in combination with local, traditional dishes
- the opportunity to purchase current and older vintages of Boutari wines as well as wines of limited production
- the opportunity to purchase wine related books and accessories
The wine tasting hall of the Milliarakis Winery is situated on the right side of the road close to the exit from the Peza village and you will find in it:
- an exhibition of old winery machines (pumps, bottling machines), as well as of an old traditional stone-made winepress.
- a projection hall for 200 persons, where the visitor can be informed about the wine in Crete and the history of the company by watching a 13 minutes video.
- a wine tasting room for 120 persons (photo) . In this room the visitor has the ability to taste the whole wine collection of the company.
- a shop where the visitor can buy wine and selected Cretan products like olive oil, olive soap, spices, honey, and herbs.
The wine hall is open everyday during the summer. For the rest of the year visitors should arrange an appointment first.
Working Hours: Monday to Friday 09:00 - 16:00, Saturday 11:00 - 16:00. There is no charge for groups visiting the Boutari winnery but for independent visitors there is a charge of 1,80 Euro per person for the optional video projection.
exhibition with old equipment traditional
The exhibition center is located a couple of km past the Peza village on the left side of the road to Agies Paraskies village.
It is open from 9:00 a.m. to 15:00 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and the entrance is free of charge. Tours at other times can also be arranged. Visits last from 30 to 50 minutes according to the number of guests and their available time.
Several brochures are distributed at welcoming. Afterwards, the guests watch a 10 minutes film about the villages of the area and the production of wine and olive oil. The film can be shown in the Greek, English, French, German, Russian, Polish and Czech languages.
Soon after that, the guides (Popi and Despina, photo) show and explain all about the old -before the 2nd world war - production equipment exhibits. Visitors can also be informed about old and new products recognized worldwide (V.Q.P.R.D. wines and Protected Designation of Origin extra virgin olive oil).
In addition, guests are welcome to taste 3 different kinds of wine along with traditional meze with olive oil. One can also purchase Peza Union's products at lower prices.
tasting room video
Wine Producers in Crete:
Minos, Lirarakis, Douloufakis, Creta Olympias, Boutaris, Peza Union, Sitia Coop