Ancient History of Cyprus Wine

Ancient History of Cyprus Wine

It is still unknown how far back Cyprus wine history goes, but one thing is for certain, and that is the Cypriot are the oldest wine producers in the world. And the claim is backed by scientific proof that the winemakers of Cyprus have been making high quality since the beginning of time.

Cyprus Wine Shipwreck

While the exact date when wine production was first introduced in Cyprus is still unknown, what is known is that wine was traded as early as 2300 BC, which was the date of a shipwreck that carried more than 2,500 amphorae. Amphora is a container used to ship wine during those times and they were mostly made of ceramic, but some have other materials found in them. Researchers don’t know about the origin and destination of the shipwreck, but it was found along the trade route between Egypt and Greece. It is likely that the ship passed through Cyprus at some point of its journey to pick up the wine.

Kyrenia Shipwreck
Kyrenia Shipwreck

Bronze Age Perfumery

Archaeologists have discovered a perfumery near the village of Pyrgos and it is said that the perfumery dated back to the Bronze Age. They also found a winery, copper smelting works, and an olive press near the perfumery along with grape seeds and wine containers also found on the site. That means the Cyprus wine industry was already established during the Bronze Age. It is proof that there’s a very long Cyprus wine history even before the time of the Romans in Cyprus.

Wine Containers of Erimi

In 1993, several containers were found in Erimi by Dr. Porphyrios Dikaios, an archaeologist and important figure in Cypriot archaeology circle. He made the excavations from 1932 to 1935 and found several parts of round flasks together with other artefacts. However, the important facts about his discoveries were made after his death.

The fragments were left in the storage room of the Cyprus Museum where they remained unwashed inside wooden boxes. In 2005, they were examined by Italian archaeologists who found traces of tartaric acid, and the containers were dated to be 5,500 years old. They concluded that flasks were used to hold wine and the Cypriots were already producing wine a lot earlier than the Greeks. They estimated that they were ahead by at least 1,500 years.

So long before the Paphos mosaics were made, Cyprus was already producing wine. It should be worth knowing that the vine is one of the few plants that were cultivated even during ancient times. Grape seeds were found in tombs that dated back to 5000 BC and it was believed that the ancient vineyards of Cyprus led to the spread of winemaking in the ancient world.

This is the ancient Cyprus wine history. Cypriots were leaders when it comes to making wine ever since the ancient times. The next part of the Cyprus wine history will take you through the Medieval ages to the 19th Century. You’ll learn how the Romans loved the wine of the island and a lot more. 

[This is a 3 part series – to read part 2 about the Medieval History of Cyprus Wine, click here or to read about Modern Cyprus Wine, click here].