On this small group guided wine, olive oil and honey tasting tour, taste up to 15 different wine varieties, sample extra virgin olive oil and honey from the local farmers, and take a behind-the-scenes look of the famous CAIR winery of Rhodes and the old factory in Fanes, operating nowadays as a museum.
Winery in Rodos follows a tradition of 2,400 years! A story from those early days tells how the Cretans, jealous of Rodos’ fame for high quality wine, copied Rodian amphorae in an attempt to pass off their own wine as Rodian.
In order to eliminate poorer quality grapes, Rodians destroyed vineyards on the Lindos side, where the climate is too hot and dry and now all the growing is concentrated on the western side, around the village of Embonas. Here many small vineyards are located in specific cooler microclimates where granite stones in the soil helps by increasing humidity which in turn improves the flavor. “Athiri”, a very old local variety of white grape, is grown in vineyards on lower slopes below Embonas while mountain regions produce a better quality of red grape.
The Company Agricultural Industry of Rhodes (CAIR) was started by the Italians in 1928. Now Greek owned and operated, the company produced (in 1992) a special white wine “Rodos 2400”, to celebrate the foundation of the city of Rhodes. Vineyards are specially selected for the quality of grapes used under each specific label and are constantly monitored. The cooperative is proud of a track record that includes the preservation of the island’s winemaking legacy, shepherding the establishment of the island’s appellation status in 1971 and competing successfully in the Greek market during the quality revolution of the past two decades.
CAIR’s wine is produced on two sites. The original site, in Rhodes city, produces “Chevalier”, “llios”and “Retsina” while the remaining labels now come from the new plant near just outside the city, where the latest technology is employed.
“Ilios” – Dry white wine from the “Athiri” grape.
“Chevalier de Rodos” – Dry red wine from the “Mandilaria”. Locals say that it the same wine drunk by the ‘Knights’.
“Platoni” – A white, rose or red table wine from the “Athiri” and “Mandilaria” grapes.
“Moulin” – A white, rose, red, dry and semi-dry table wine. Produced from a mix of varieties including “Cabernet Sauvignon” and “Grenache”. The semi-dry white and rose, with a light, delicate flavour are particularly palatable with a meal or on their own.
“Rodos 2400” – A dry white wine from the “Athiri” grape, full of fruits flavors.
“Arxontiko” (“Chateau”) – A dry red wine from a mix of grapes. Lovers of red wines will appreciate the subtle hint of blackcurrant – best of the reds!
“Muscat de Rodos” – A sweet white wine of the “Moschato” variety.
“Amandia” – Sweet red wine.
“Retsina” – Natural resin and the “Athiri” grape combined to make this an excellent lightly resinated crisp white wine.
“CAIR Brut & Demi-Sec” – A very drinkable sparkling wine from the “Athiri” grape.
“Nisiotikos” – Available in large as well as standard size bottles, this white, rose or red wine is ideal for general use.
From the traditional tastes as its excellent retsina to its famous sweet muscat wines and from its champions in the quality/price ratio to the “young people” bottles as the “Maestro” or the prestigious cabernet bottles of “Kellaria ton Ippoton”. All these wines are available for purchase by the bottle directly from the cellars of the old factory in very competing prices.
Another local winery which we are going to visit is Triantafillou at Butterfly Valley. Triantafillou winery was started on 1995 and later on 2002 they moved here to this beautiful location. In the beginning they started with only two wines and now they are producing more than 10 different type of wines:“Athiri”, Red wine “Mandilari”, “Muscat”, “Cabernet Sauvignon” and many more. Triantafillou winery is also producers of “Souma” (distillate of wine) and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. For the vineyards and wines they are using only biological growth and biological process.
After wine, olive oil and honey tasting you will have free time at Butterfly Valley (in Greek “Petaloúdes”), where every year, at the end of the wet season (late May), thousands of butterflies attracted by the scent of the Oriental Sweetgum trees cover the entire landscape.
Apart from this unique nature reserve’s aesthetic value, it is also the site of the only natural forest of “Liquidambar orientalis” (Oriental Sweetgum trees) in Europe, and a resting point for the “Jersey tiger” (Panaxia Quadripunctaria), a nocturnal moth. An excellent place for families with children who wish to enjoy the beauties of nature and examine the life cycle of butterflies as part of their summer holiday.