History of Wine in Limnos

According to mythology, Thoantas, sun of Dionysus, was the first king of Limnos. Homer connects Limnos with wine, saying in Iliad that the Achaeans were drinking the wine of Limnos as long as the siege of Troy lasted. Wine was loaded in ships and exchanged with metals, oxen, animal skins and prisoners. This testimony shows the importance of viticulture for Limnos since the ancient years, as well as the sea ways of wine trade. Another fact proving the importance of viticulture for Limnos refers to the coins made by the inhabitants of Hephaestia, with a representation of Dionysus or a cluster of grapes on them.

The first existing records concerning the amount of vines and the height of wine production in Limnos, come from the post Byzantine years and the monastery vineyards – the land property (Metohia) of the Monasteries of Mount Athos.

By the early 20th century in Limnos varieties of black grapes are cultivated. The oldest variety of the island is “kalampaki” which gradually spreads elsewhere. In Halkidiki acquires the designation “Limnio”. In 1910, arrives at Limnos the variety “Muscat of Alexandria” which gradually dominates the production, giving wines that are gaining reputation, especially the sweets and semi -sweet .The grapes get high alcoholic degrees thanks to the soil and the climatic conditions. The wines of Limnos today, make up a large range. Produced excellent white wines Origin of Superior Quality (OPAP) and Appellation of Contralled Origin (AOC) -dry, semi- sweet and of course sweet and natural sweet, more and more coming from organic farming.

A distinct reputation nowadays have the dry wines, “Scent of Limnos”, ”Limnia Gi”, ”Lemnia Vines” and others. From the sweets, the famous “Muscat de Limnos” and “Hephaestus Gnosi" (knowledge). Also produced red and rose dry, as during the last years the old red varieties of Limnos are used and also producing very good retsina.

There is a long tradition of producing ouzo and raki. The ouzo of Limnos has years of great reputation and raki (tsipouro) is constantly gaining new friends. Besides from the traditional home production offered now standard on the market. The Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Limnos features the wines in Myrina and the most famous wineries located in the settlements Karpasi, Pedino, Kaspakas, Atsiki, Kaminia and Agios Dimitrios.

During the 17th and 18th century, travelers make reference to the winemaking production of Limnos and to its wine exchange trade with other products (textiles, etc.), mainly regarding the regions of Asia Minor.