Best time to visit Crete

Winemaking Season in Crete 2024

There is no meal without a glass of amazing Cretan wine. Tasting tours run all year round, whereas grape stomping experience is available just once in a while—don't miss it!

Best time: late August–early October

Winemaking Season
Winemaking Season

Wine plays a huge role in Cretan life. Crete is home to 11 indigenous grape varieties. The grape harvest and winemaking are extremely important for Cretan families. Nowadays almost every household produces its own wine. What is more, in all the regions wine has its unique taste. Cretan producers create very exclusive types of wine mixing some indigenous grapes with other European varieties. The most popular white grapes are Vilana, Vidiano, Dafni, and Thrapsathiri. The most popular red varieties are Kotsifali, Liatiko, and Mantilari. You're able to taste all these varieties any time you visit Crete, but winemaking experience is available only during the peak of grape harvest season.

In Ancient Greece winemaking was a special occasion with offerings to the gods. In modern days, it remains a very traditional and festive event. It starts early in the morning when all families and relatives collect and carry the grapes. Traditionally the most amusing part of the process used to be grape stomping. This ancient winemaking technique is still practised in some areas of Greece, and Crete in particular. It's a super unique occasion with lots of entertainment and traditions.

Lots of wineries are located in the Chania and Heraklion regions. They offer winemaking tours from late August through early October. It's a great way to learn about the wine culture of Crete, discover Cretan wineries, learn about different techniques of winemaking, and of course, try the best of Cretan red, white, and rose wines.

Practical info

What are the best grape varieties for white and red wine in Crete?

Cretan winemakers use a blend of their indigenous grape varieties with European varieties to produce exclusive types of white and red wine in Crete. Vilana, Vidiano, Dafni, and Thrapsathiri are some of the best grape varieties for white wine, while Kotsifali, Liatiko, and Mantilari are the best for red wine. These grape varieties create unique tastes that differ in various Cretan regions. Show more

When is the best time to experience grape stomping in Crete?

Grape stomping is an old technique still followed in Crete. It happens early in the morning from late August through early October during the peak of grape harvest season. Wineries located in the Chania and Heraklion regions usually offer winemaking tours and grape stomping experiences to visitors. This is a traditional and festive event that dates back to ancient times. Show more

Where are the wineries located in Crete?

There are several wineries situated in the Chania and Heraklion regions of Crete. Tourists can visit these wineries and explore the wine culture of Crete when the grape harvest season is high, from late August through early October. Joining a winemaking tour and testing the variety of Cretan white, red, and rose wines are the best ways to discover each winery's uniqueness and learn about Cretan winemaking techniques. Show more

What is the significance of winemaking in Cretan families?

Producing wine using traditional techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation is an essential part of Cretan life and culture. Winemaking is a significant celebration in almost every household in Crete, and the grape harvest and creating wine is an occasion to foster social connections. Additionally, this traditional practice is an integral part of the island's economy and tourism. Show more

What is different about wine blending in Crete compared to other regions in Europe?

Cretan winemakers have a unique approach to blending their indigenous grape varieties with European varieties, which produces exclusive types of wine. These winemakers use traditional techniques and skills passed down for generations, resulting in a distinct taste that comes from the local terroir. Visitors can see this uniqueness by taking winemaking tours and tasting the wines produced by traditional and modern techniques that differ in taste depending on the region they are produced. Show more

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Authors: Olha Savych