This family-owned organic winery (pictured above) emphasizes local Cretan grapes, resulting in wines such as the excellent Moschato Spinas, an extremely fragrant white, and the fascinating spin on Assyrtiko. Tastings are offered either in an elegant hall overlooking the vineyard or under a pergola, with a view over the entire Pezon PDO zone.
INFO | Melesses, Archanes-Asterousia, Irakleio, Τel. (+30) 2810.226.674. Open Mon-Fri, weekends by appointment; tastings from €7.50 PP.
Located in a wonderful spot on the 500m summit of Orthi Petra Hill, north of the archaeological site of ancient Gortyn, this modern winery stands out for its architecture. Lush vineyards are planted on a succession of terraces and the view, particularly at sunset, is amazing.
ΙNFO | Plouti, Irakleio • Τel. (+30) 28920.962.26 • By appointment; tastings cost €5-60 PP depending on the snack or meal menu.
Overlooking a sea of vines and the Lasithi mountains, Lyrakakis treats its visitors to wines made from both popular and rare Cretan varieties. Don’t pass up a taste of agourida, a traditional Cretan verjuice. The tasting experience includes delicious Cretan snacks.
INFO | Alagni, Arkalochori, Irakleio • Τel. (+30) 2810.284.614 • Open Apr-Oct and by appointment the rest of the year; €5–20 PP; Premium Cellar Experience €60 PP.
A beautiful winery, set inside a copse at an altitude of 450m, with a view stretching from the Lefka Ori (White Mountains) to the Sea of Crete. Tours include the vineyard, the production facility and the exhibition space hosting old presses and tools. In the tasting hall, visitors can sample sundried wine from the red Romeiko variety or the aromatic white Malvasia. The best time to visit is during the harvest.
INFO | Alikambos, Hania • Τel. (+30) 28250.517.61 • Tours by appointment, free of charge; tastings start at €6 PP.
SCALANI HILLS BOUTARI
A visit to the state-of-the-art Boutari winery feels like walking through a narrative of Crete’s wine history. Don’t pass up the opportunity to sample limited-production wines like the Iouliatiko, paired with local delicacies. You can also stay at the Scalani Hills Residences, a member of the Aria Hotels group, housed in a renovated glebe on the estate. The ancient site of Knossos is just 4k away.
INFO | Skalani, Irakleio, Τel. (+30) 2810.731.617. Open Apr-Oct., 9:00-17:00 (or by appointment); tours and tastings from €5 PP.
A third-generation vintner, Nikos Douloufakis produces wines with both Cretan and foreign varieties of grapes. Greek varieties will surprise you with their multifaceted characters and clear expressions of the terroir; taste the charming Femina from Malvasia di Candia Aromatica and the Vidiano in the popular Aspros Lagos (White Hare) line. Tastings are coordinated by the estate’s οenologist, while the winemaker himself is also often present.
INFO | Dafnes, Irakleio, Τel. (+30) 2810.792.017. Βy appointment; €5 PP including Cretan snacks.
The Daskalaki family’s small winery is located right below the paternal homestead located in Siva and produces wines, some of them organic, from its privately owned vineyard, including the white Enstikto, made with Vidiano and Chardonnay, or old harvests of sweet red Emilia from 100% Liatiko.
INFO | Siva (17th km Iraklio-Moires road), Τel. (+30) 2810.792.021. Tours & tastings free of charge; food served by prior arrangement at an extra cost.
Located southwest of the city of Irakleio at an altitude of 450m, this welcoming facility produces distinguished wines from local and international varieties. The best selections are in the Diamantopetra line: the 100% Vidiano, the blend of Vidiano and Assyrtiko, and the full-bodied and complex Syrah and Mandilari blend.
ΙNFO | Kato Asites, Irakleio, Τel. (+30) 6949.198.350, www.diamantakiswines.gr
World-traveled and always welcoming, οenologists Maria Tamiolaki and Dimitris Mansolas show visitors around their vineyard and winery, talk about the history and future of Cretan wine, and offer a very pleasant tasting session, which includes the stellar Skipper, a white made with the local Vidiano and Plyto grapes.
INFO | Houdetsi, Pediada, Irakleio, Τel. (+30) 2810.742.083. Visits by appointment; €7 PP for a simple tasting, €10 PP for a selection of wines paired with Cretan meze.
Run by a couple of passionate οenologists and located right at the center of the PDO Dafnes region – which has a long history in winemaking, as attested by the Archaic and Roman stone presses found locally – Idaia produces very decent wines. Its stars are the single-grape Vilana, the Vidiano and the spicy dessert wine made with Liatiko.
ΙNFO | Venerato, Irakleio, Τel. (+30) 2810.792.156
One of the oldest and most important wineries in Hania, Manousakis produces impressive aged wines mainly with international varieties, the most popular being the Syrah and the Roussanne. Tasting sessions include platters of cheeses and Cretan meze, while the full meal of traditional delicacies is also recommended.
INFO | Vatolakkos, Hania, Τel. (+30) 28210.787.87. By appointment; €6-35 PP.