KYKKOS WINERY LTD
1304 Engomi, Nicosia
Tel: +357 22390729 (Main Office)
Fax: +357 22390793
Contact: Mr Zacharias Papapetrou, Sales Manager
Mrs Andri Demetriou, Production Manager
The Holy Royal and Stavropegiac Monastery of Kykkos is located about 20 km west of Kalopanayiotis, in the Marathasa valley and is the most well known monastery in Cyprus. It was founded around the end of the 11th century by the Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos (1081 – 1118 AD). Every year thousands of visitors, locals and foreigners, travel to the monastery to worship the Holy Icon of Virgin Maria, painted by Apostole Loukas.
For a short history of the Kykkos Monastery please click here.
Historical documents and verbal evidence confirm that the monastery has been producing excellent wine for centuries. As Magda Ohnefalsch Richter confirms in her book “Customs of Cyprus” that was written in the last years of the 19th century, ‘the Kykkos monastery offers excellent wine to its visitors. The best wine is produced from the vine yards located on the nearby hills and the monastery owns many of the vineyards in the area.’
Besides wine making, monks at the Kykkos monastery have mastered the art of producing zivania, the product that the winery is best known today. Kykkos produces a range of different zivanias that are made exclusively by the winery such as the yellow-colored oak aged and the red zivania types. Until 1993, Kykkos wines and zivania were not produced in an organized commercial manner and were sold only from the monastery premises. In that year the decision was taken for the construction of a winery adjacent to the monastery aiming to preserve the tradition of wine and zivania making in upgraded facilities, suitable for commercializing production. Today, the combination of tradition, know-how, scientific knowledge and technology have proved a successful experiment and have made the Kykkos zivania a highly respected spirit. Wines are still produced but in significantly smaller volumes since much of the available storage facilities are used up in the process of making and aging zivania.
The winery is now in its second stage of upgrading its facilities, in order to obtain a HACCP certification. Distribution is undertaken by the winery covering the whole of the Cypriot market. A new product line has recently been launched that involves the marketing and distribution of a range herbal tea blends targeting mainly at the export markets.
This spirit has always been the winery’s leading product as expertise in its production is unequivocal. By using grapes of the territory, fact which contributes to the qualitative improvement of the produced extract, Kykkos zivania has consistently proved a superior product. Kykkos zivania is transparent and clear, contains 49% of alcohol and is made from local grapes of the indigenous mavro and xynisteri varieties. A variation is the Zivania Cabernet made, as the name indicates, from grapes of the Cabernet variety.
Red zivania: This special type of zivania was produced in small quantities by the Kykkos Holy Monastery and offered as a welcoming drink to important visitors of the monastery. In the 18th and 19th centuries, foreign travellers testify that during their visits to the Monastery they were offered three presents: a bottle of Commandaria, a bottle of red wine and a bottle containing a very sweet liqueur which was nothing more than red zivania. In 1901, red zivania received an award in the Cyprus Exhibition held at Zappeio, Athens, for its excellent quality and its general sensation in the mouth.
The "Red Zivania" is produced the same way as the authentic – colorless zivania, with the addition of cinnamon and herbal extracts, with or without sugar. Major characteristics of this product are of course the red colour and its unique aromatic flavour. It is made available in two types: sweet with 15% sugars and 43% Vol; dry with 0.02% sugars and 43% Vol.
Oak aged zivania: This type of zivania is aged in oak barrels for a period of 2-5 years. Its colour turns yellowish, the spirit gets a smother taste and the oak extracts enrich its aroma.
A new team employed to run the winery
In the last two years, new management has been employed in the winery in an effort to strengthen its position in the local and foreign markets. Distribution is now undertaken by the winery's own lorries but still, many of the winery's products are sold directly to the consumer at the monastery shop. New marketing policies aim to create the potential for opening up new markets, especially in the EU and management is keen to review any co-operation possibilities in the trade of wine, zivania and herbal tea products.