In Rhodes viticulture and wine making tradition go back to as early as the 7th century BC. The island, located in the south-east of Aegean Sea, facing the coast of Asia Minor, is blessed with an ideal climate for grape-growing, with long sunshine for perfect grape ripening, cooling summer-breezes to mitigate the heat in the summer months and enough rainfall to sustain the growth of vines.
Rhodes is also remarkable for being unaffected by phylloxera. As a result, the traditional varieties have been largely preserved, despite the encroaching of certain international cultivars (Cabernet, Grenache and Syrah).
Mandilariá dominates the islands production. Known locally as Amorgianó, encountered in wine blends in Crete and (rarely) as a single-varietal wine in Santorini, this red grape really comes to its own in Rhodes' warm, lower-elevation vineyards, unfolding its full potential of fruit concentration and aromas.
The dry, aromatic Athiri grape (white), which in Santorini finds its way to blends with Asyrtiko, is vinified alone in Rhodes, and it is the sole variety permitted under the island's white AOC (OPAP) appellation.
Rhodes has a third appellation for sweet wine, made from two local Muscat clones, Moschato Aspro and Trani Muscat. The sweet Muscats of Rhodes are produced in small quantities but are among the best in Greece.
The island's largest producer is the Cair cooperative, one of Greece's most respected, famed for the production of top-class Mandylariá and Athiri wines.
The boutique, family-run winery Emery has also been at the forefront of quality and innovation for over thirty years. They have earned the distinction of being the first in Greece to produce a Methode Champenoise sparkling wine, a brut and demi-sec, both made from Athiri.