Crete Wines

Crete Wines including Retsina, Ouzo and Raki (Tsikoudia)

Wine buffs beware! - Village wine in Crete can prove to be a "hit and miss" experience, generally the local village white wine is good with both a fruity and flowery aroma, the red usually has a strong sherry taste. When it's good it is wonderful, when it's bad one usually needs to add Sprite to it and sometimes it really is undrinkable. The abv is quite high at 12% Bottled wines however were something of a revelation to us and we have been constantly surprised at how good Greek wines are. Three of the main producers of quality wines in Crete are:-

Mandilari Grape from Crete

The Lyrarakis family

Some of the very best, award winning Cretan wines are produced at the Lyrarakis winery in Algani. Sotiris Lyrarakis is considered to be amongst the very best of the Greek wine producers. You can visit their website at

Minos Wines

A large Cretan winery who have been making wines for more than 70 years. Gradually improving their products, the Miliarakis brothers under the company name of Minos are exporters of wines to Europe and further afield - their wines are easily found in the local supermarkets. For more information and varieties visit their website:

Boutari wines

Vilana grape, Crete

Many varieties of wines can be found under the Boutari label and they will all be very fine. They are the largest producer in Greece and only started production in Crete in the 1990s when they established their Fantaxometocho Estate in Kato Archanes. They are still experimenting with vines to find the best combination of suitable climate varieties in order to produce superior wines in Crete. Their website can be found at:


Retsina is a 100% Greek product. It is not produced in any other part of the world except Greece. Made for more than 3,000 years, this traditional Greek wine has been resinated (treated with pine-tree resin). The resin gives the wine a distinctive sappy taste. Today, Retsina is produced in almost all parts of Greece, but the best is considered that of Attica. Retsinas are either white or rose and should be served cold. Retsina is ideal as an accompaniment for all types of Greek cuisine. Like most Greek beverages, it is undeniably at its best when combined with Greek foods, especially the savoury mezedes served as appetizers. Some people, mostly non-Greeks, say that Retsina, is an acquired taste. Some other, say that Retsina has a flavour as "sappy and turpentine like". We challenge you to try it! Because if you don't, you will never know what you are missing! The best way is to try it in its native environment. Maybe then, you may well respond to it like a true Greek!


As any Ouzo drinker will tell you the best way to drink it, is with a meze. Mezedes or meze are small plates of food served with ouzo, as in Greece it is customary to eat while you drink. Ouzo is never served without mezedes, even if it is only a handful of nuts at a tourist bar . Ouzo's cousins, raki, tsipouro and tsikoudia -  are a similar  spirit without the aniseed taste are also served with meze which soften the effects of these powerful drinks and enable one to drink and talk for hours, rather than getting drunk and incoherent. You will rarely see  Greeks rip-roaring drunk. This is because they drink slowly, eat meze and in between every bite are talking, listening, watching or reflecting.

Raki (Tsikoudia)

As anyone who has been to Crete will know, Greek raki or tsikoudia is totally different to the Turkish variant. Turkish raki has an aniseed flavour, similar to ouzo, the Greek variant has no flavour that can be described. A taste that 'grows on you'. ;Distilled from the waste products left over after the wine has been made, raki is distilled and produced in about ten minutes flat. This first distillation produces a drink anywhere between 45% and 80% ABV, a fairly potent brew. Usually a much less potent Raki is served in the tavernas. The clear liquid looks innocuous enough, but when given a small glass of the stuff and a  "Yammas" (Your health),  it loses all innocence as it hits the back of your throat and slowly burns it's way down to your stomach. Local Greeks treat raki as a 'cure all', it cures coughs, colds, aching muscles and all manner of other minor ailments. Raki can be purchased  very cheaply from a plastic barrel  in most mini-markets or in small pretty glass bottles at an inflated price in larger supermarkets.

Places to Visit in Crete

Welcome to our new site - our aim is to give you an insight into some of the great things that this beautiful island of Crete has to offer. We would value any comments or suggestions that you may have, for us to improve or indeed to include other features that may be of interest to you. If you haven't already booked, then please have a browse at our luxury villas in Western Crete.