Maratheftiko Variety

Maratheftiko (or Vamvakada) is a very rare red Cyprus grape variety that was only rediscovered thirty years ago. This exceptional variety was always grown among other grape varieties and vinified with them to improve the colour and body of wines made from the local Mavro. Maratheftiko never became popular with old-timers because it produced small yields due to a rare viticultural problem. Almost all grape varieties can self-pollinate which allow them to produce grapes with ease. Conversely, Maratheftiko finds it hard to self-pollinate because the male part of the plant is underdeveloped or doesn’t even exist in some cases. Today Maratheftiko is usually planted together with Spourtiko and Xinisteri. Both grapes flower at the same time, helping Maratheftiko with pollination, thus achieve fruit development.

Maratheftiko still represents only 7% of cultivated vineyards on the island but has become extremely popular among Cypriot winemakers and wine enthusiasts.

Maratheftiko grapes are medium to large and have a thick skin which gives wines a beautiful ruby red color, plenty of tannins and high acidity. Wines made from Maratheftiko can be distinguished by their dark berry and floral aromas.

Wines produced from this variety: Fikardos Maratheftiko

Maratheftiko grape variety cyprus

Xinisteri grape variety

Xinisteri is an indigenous grape variety that has been growing in Cyprus for thousands of years. This is the most widespread white grape variety in Cyprus (28.5%) . It is cultivated all around Cyprus but it is primarily (50%+) located in the Paphos region. Xinisteri is one of the two varieties used in the production of Commandaria. Commandaria is a traditional, sweet dessert wine that has been produced in Cyprus for at least 2800 years.

Xinisteri is mostly cultivated in limestone soil and thrives even in the driest and hottest areas of Cyprus. The majority of Xinisteri vines are trained using the traditional “goblet” system. Xinisteri grapes can be oval or heart shaped, have a thin skin and are medium in size.

Xinisteri produces fresh, light wines with an alcohol content of around 11-12%. The main aromas found in Xinisteri wines are apples, stone fruits (peach and nectarines) and some citrus notes.

Wines produced from this variety: Fikardos Xinisteri and Katerina

Spourtiko grape variety

Spourtiko is a very rare, indigenous, white grape variety grown in Cyprus. It represents only 0.2% of cultivated vineyards on the island and is mostly grown amongst other grape varieties. Fikardos Winery was the first winery in Cyprus to produce wine from Spourtiko. The variety was neglected by winemakers because no one considered it good enough to produce wine. Spourtiko, at the moment, is produced by a handful of wineries and is becoming more and more popular amongst consumers.

Nowadays, Spourtiko is mostly planted with Maratheftiko grapevines in order to help it overcome its pollination problem (find more info at Maratheftiko). The majority of Spourtiko vineyards are located in the Paphos region in villages such as Kili (500 m) and Panayia (1100 m).

Spourtiko grapes are delicate and burst easily when they are overripe, that is why the variety was named Spourtiko. In Cypriot dialect Spourto means ‘bursting”. Wines made from Spourtiko have a yellow-green colour, are low in alcohol and have a herbaceous and citrus character. This type of wine is mostly consumed as an aperitif or with very light dishes.

Giannoudi / Yiannoudi grape variety

Giannoudi is a rare indigenous grape variety that is only found here in Cyprus. Its grapes are round, have thick skin and produce wines rich in colour, tannins and acidity. A typical Giannoudi has flavours of blackberry, dark cherry and blueberry notes. At the moment in Cyprus only a few wineries produce Giannoudi in small quantities. Cyprus is still rediscovering what this beautiful variety is capable of.

Wines produced from this variety: Fikardos Giannoudi (future release)

Read about the International grape varieties >>