Wines and Wineries in Rhodes

With its strategic location between West and East, Rhodes was among the first islands in Greek that engaged in grape cultivation. There are numerous historical proofs and archaeological finds that attest how important the Rhodian amphorae were in wine transportation from the wineries in Rhodes Island.

Greek wine has long been praised as a living god that is elegant, smart, and humane. Dionysius is the personification of Greek wine, a god portrayed in the intricately carved statues shown on vases of unrivaled craftsmanship.

The ancient people of Rhodes were followers of the god of profit, Hermes Kerdoos, and were aware of how valuable the trade is.

Thanks to the location of the island close to mainland Asia, the importance of Rhodes in Hellenic world as a pivotal point of contact for the Oriental civilizations and the Greeks doesn’t equal its size.

Wine in Ancient Mediterranean

Rhodian wine’s esteemed reputation continued well to the period when the Knights of Saint John occupied the island.

When the island was occupied in 1522 by the Ottoman Turks, after a siege that lasted for 177 days, viticulture in particular and agriculture in general started shrinking because of the Ottomans who imposed disincentives to the tradesmen and farmers of Rhodes.

The disincentives were implemented as retribution for how the Rhodians provided help to the Knights throughout the siege. Inhabitants of the other Dodecanese islands enjoyed privileges that the Ottoman Empire offered. It only took several decades for viticulture to hit the all time low.

However, the Italians who succeeded the Ottoman rulers during the first half of 20th century became interested in the revival of Rhodian agriculture. T

The vines of Rhodes, despite not being systematically cultivated, were responsible for most of the island’s agricultural economy throughout the era of Italian rule.

The very first reference to wine in Rhodes is made by Aeschynes, the Athenian politician exiled in Rhodes during 330 BC. He mentioned in his fifth letter that he stayed in a small house in Kameiros with a garden. He also stated that he was given honey, oil, and an outstanding wine that he appreciated better than the wine from Athens.

Wine Tasting tour with Romantic Sunset at Monolithos castle

Top Wineries in Rhodes Island


The wine industry of Rhodes is intrinsically associated with the acronym CAIR or Compagnia Agricola Industriale Rodi, the winery founded by a group of investors from Italy in1928.

The winery was not only responsible for keeping alive the industry of grape cultivation but also for making the island one of Greece’s few areas that produce wine whose vineyards grew after the Second World War. The Bodossakis Group took ownership of the company when the Dodecanese Islands become a part of the state of Greece in 1947. CAIR was then sold off to Dodecanese Association of Agricultural Cooperatives in 1957.

CAIR rose to remarkable popularity as a producer of sparkling wines with its Rosé and Velvet Reserve labels that make up outstanding examples of the complex sparkling wines.

Before the burgeoning middle class of Greece discovered the imported champagnes, each CAIR bottle was considered a cause for celebration based on an old ad, with yearly sales reaching 1.5 million bottles. The company has also been focusing on quality still wines for a few years now, including the Rodos 2400, introduced in 1992 in celebration of the 2,400 years since the establishment of Rhodes Town.

Emery Winery

Emery is the other big wine producer in Rhodes, established in 1923, with its name taken after the 41st Grand Master of the Knights of St John, Emery d’ Amboise, who served in the position from years 1503 through 1512.

The third generation of Triantafylloy family now runs Emery and has been producing wine ever since mid-1960s and established its current winery in 1974. This winery located in Embonas village is among the largest in Greece, perched at an altitude of 700 meters. Their vineyards cultivated on Mt. Attavyros’ northwesterly slopes are popular for the quality of their Amorgiano and Athiri grapes.

Alexandris Winery

In addition to these, Rhodes also has several small artisanal wineries including Alexandris Family Winery established in 1968 and has been producing a selection of several very interesting wines under the management of Panayiotis Alexandris, a third-generation winemaker who graduated from the acclaimed university of Montpellier.

The winery has approximately four hectares of vines that produce only around 20,000 bottles per year, with every label representing up to 2,000 bottles. The aged examples of the own-rooted Athiri from 700 meters of altitude that matures on the lees for around 11 months are relatively more powerful compared to what is expected from the variety that boasts of a long aftertaste and an intense smokiness. You can also find other equally interesting small wineries in Rhodes Island such as Tatakis and Kounakis.

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