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More than half wine sold in Cyprus made locally

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Over half of the domestic wine market is covered by Cypriot wines, the House commerce committee heard on Tuesday.

The agriculture ministry estimates that 55 per cent of wines available in Cyprus are made locally, with the rest coming from European and third countries.

This means that it is much easier for local wineries to focus on promoting their product within the domestic market, rather than abroad, so as to increase their share, the ministry’s George Neophytou said, expressing the need to promote Cypriot wine as well as commandaria and zivania.

Neophytou said that in Cyprus there are currently about 130 wine producers, and 80 wine producing units.

Average production from 2011 to 2024 amounts to approximately 9 million litres of wine, while wine consumption amounts to 16 million litres.

He also said that there are 70,000 decares of vineyards in Cyprus with 40 varieties of grape grown, of which three varieties (xynisteri, mavro and sultana) cover 70 per cent of planted area.

In total, there are nine indigenous varieties including xynisteri, mavro, kanela, vasilissa, spourtiko, yianoudi, maratheftiko.

Everyone understands the importance of native varieties because they give identity to Cypriot wine,” Neophytou said, but he said that although Cyprus has five Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) wines, which give prestige, “it seems that this has not been used to its full potential by our winemakers”.

The five PDO wines are Commandaria, Laona Akama, Vouni Panagia, Limassol wine villages and Pitsilia.

Andreas Karamanis, a representative of the ministry of commerce, said the ministry has set the goal of promoting Cypriot wines abroad for the last three years and is implementing the national action plan for Cypriot wine.

At the same time, he said, the ministry has created and promoted a modern national visual identity for Cypriot wine.

He said the ministry also backs investment in the wine sector, with the aim of improving the overall performance of wineries, adapting them to market requirements and increasing competitiveness.

Since 2014, when the specific investment plan was introduced, the ministry has approved a grant of €14.8 million for the benefit of 45 wineries, of which 13 are new.

Karamanis said exports of Cyprus wine amounted to €1.3 million in 2023, marking a 48 per cent increase over 2020, while in the four-year period 2020-2023 they amounted to €5.5 million.

In recent years, Cyprus wine has gained international recognition and continues to gain traction and prestige in important foreign markets such as the USA, UK, China, Israel, Estonia, Poland and Greece.

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