As one of the most significant wine making regions, Crete has been an incremental part of the new age of Greek wine. With numerous endemic grape varieties, a size that makes it the most important island in Greece in terms of wine production, a very complex topography as well as being an extremely popular tourist destination, Crete is a driving force towards a great future for Greek wines.
Most of the vineyards of Crete are located in the eastern section of the island, particularly its northern side which benefits from the northerly and northeasterly sea winds. The viticultural industry is experiencing brisk growth, making the island one of the most significant and dynamic terroirs of Greece. Most of the vineyards of Crete are situated on the lowland plains and on plateaus, at altitudes of up to 3,300 feet. Most of them are linear although the traditional practice of goblet training has remained in some. The mountain ranges of Lefka Ori, Idi and Dikty traverse Crete, featuring several dozens of summits, forming large plateaus and gorges, and creating an endless diversity of terroirs where the local varieties of Vilana, Kotsifali, and Liatiko thrive alongside a plethora of other native and international cultivars. The Cretan climate is particularly hot and dry, with sunshine for 70% of the year and little rainfall during the summertime (less than 2 inches). However, these conditions are mitigated by sea winds and high altitudes. These factors have facilitated the adaptation of vines in Greece’s and Europe’s southernmost region (latitude: 35º north). The majority of soils are clay and limestone, with a high proportion of clay in many sites.