Thousands of visitors descended onto Lee Valley Athletics Centre in Enfield over the Jubilee Bank Holiday to celebrate the 38th Cypriot Wine Festival & Business Expo, the London Cypriot community’s biggest annual event organised by Parikiaki, which was this year held in honour and memory of our beloved friend and colleague Neophytos Nicolaou, in recognition of his tireless dedication and efforts in the organising of the festival for over 30 years.

Throughout the two-day extravaganza, Cypriots from all over London and further afield, as well as attracting hundreds of visitors from a diverse array of ethnic backgrounds, were able to experience all things Cypriot – from soutziouko and KEO beer to souvlakia and Commandaria!

The event was officially opened in the early evening of Thursday 2 June, with Parikiaki’s very own George Michaelides as the master of ceremonies.

Speeches were made by Cyprus High Commissioner in the UK Mr Andreas Kakouris, who also spoke on behalf of Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou who was unable to attend,

and member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of AKEL, Nikos Ioannou.

Parikiaki’s Managing Director Bambos Charalambous gave a very passionate opening speech about the festival, as it is something that is especially meaningful for the collective progression of the Cypriot community in the UK.

Also in attendance at the opening ceremony was Labour MP for Enfield Southgate Bambos Charalambous, Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet Theresa Villiers,

President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK Mr Christos Karaolis, President of NEPOMAK Global Mr Christos Tuton, President of NEPOMAK UK Mr Adrian Patsalos, Cultural Counsellor of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus at the Cyprus High Commission in London Mr Marios Psaras, Commercial Attaché at the Cyprus High Commission in London Costas Dafos, Sales & Marketing Officer at Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Tourism Costas Catsellis, and Councillors George Savva (Labour, Enfield, Haselbury), Anne Clarke (Labour, Barnet, Cricklewood), Arjun Mittra (Labour, Barnet, East Finchley), Ergin Erbil (Labour, Enfield, Edmonton Green), Stephanos Ioannou (Conservative, Enfield, Southgate) and Anton Georgiou (Liberal Democrat, Brent, Alperton).

In his address, Parikiaki’s Managing Director Mr Bambos Charalambous welcomed all those present: “After a two-year hiatus, we finally meet again to celebrate Cypriot wine, food and culture,” he said.

“The Cypriot Wine Festival of Britain was first held in the Cypriot Community Centre in Harringay back in 1982. The inspiration for it was of course the Limassol Wine festival – held every year at the end of the grape harvest. From the beginning, however, we wanted to make the event something that fit the needs and the wants of our local community. Where our Limassol counterpart’s mission is limited to showcasing Cypriot wine, our mission from the beginning was to be broader and to include Cypriot food and culture as well, and from then onwards we kept growing and evolving.”

He continued, “In 1991, we moved to Alexandra Palace. The extra space gave us the ability to introduce the business exhibition so, alongside the food and the drink, we could showcase the wonderful community businesses who have always supported us….In 2017, we took the decision to move again. Lee Valley Athletics Centre has allowed us to upgrade what we can offer at the event and we believe that this venue offers us the necessary flexibility to accommodate our needs, but also affords us even more space to grow and evolve in the coming years.”

On the challenges the event organisers faced this year, Mr Charalambous said, “We have had a lot of obstacles along the way; like everyone else, we had to grapple with increased costs and shortages and increased post-Brexit bureaucracy; but with hard work, dedication and the support of our advertisers and exhibitors, we made it happen. Here I would like to offer a special thanks to all of the businesses and organisations that support us – your presence enriches the festival and your financial contribution helps us keep prices affordable for all our guests. It is only right to give specific thanks to our 2022 sponsors individually: Marathon Foods, Laiko Group, Tony’s Pita, Star Estates & Lettings, Argo Management, Boulter & Co, Southern Territory, Azura Bar & Restaurant, C. Michael & Co, Premier Finance, NN Accountancy Services, Babinondas, Sakkas Building Contractors and Azzura Digital.”

Closing, Mr Charalambous thanked all the volunteers for working tirelessly over the last few weeks – “Without you, we wouldn’t have been able to open our doors this year.”

He encouraged visitors to visit exhibitors, take part in the activities on offer, enjoy the food and wine, and party with the entertainment on offer.

Attending the festival for the first time, Cyprus High Commissioner in the UK Mr Andreas Kakouris said, “The wine festival is undoubtedly the largest celebration of the Cypriot community in Britain…It is a unique opportunity for all of us to taste exceptional wines and flavours from our beloved island and meet many local businesses which offer their products and services in the UK.”

He added, “The festival is held under the auspices of the Cyprus High Commission, which this year is represented at the expo by three of its departments: the Tourist Office, the Trade Centre and the Cultural Section. At the mezzanine upstairs, you may visit the photography exhibition ‘Snapshots in Time: Cypriot Community in London, then and now’, a collaboration between our Cultural Section and the Cyprus Centre at the University of Westminster. The exhibition is also available online on the Cultural Section’s webpage.

In addition, you have the opportunity to watch the documentary ‘Queens of Amathus’, which narrates the story of female members of our community in Birmingham. Both the film and the photography exhibition are fantastic opportunities, especially for younger generations, to learn about the history of our community.”

The High Commissioner concluded by congratulating the tireless organisers, all the volunteers and generous sponsors.

He proceeded to convey Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou’s message who regrettably could not attend the event as he had to travel to the US on official business.

“I am extremely happy the Cypriot Wine Festival is taking place this year, given the past two difficult years, with the pandemic and its economic and social effects. A great deal of hard work and dedication goes into such an event, which highlights our tradition and growth in the wine sector; the organisers deserve our praise and congratulations for continuing to upgrade the festival year after year with the support of the Cypriot state.”

He noted that the event is of great importance as it allows second, third and fourth generation Cypriots of our community to learn about and help preserve our culture and traditions.

On the Cyprus problem, the Presidential Commissioner said “our aim is the reunification of our homeland. We seek a solution that leads our country to a new era of peace, security and prosperity for all its citizens,” and gave an update on recent developments.

He concluded by thanking Parikiaki and our Managing Director Mr Bambos Charalambous for successfully promoting Cypriot wine.

AKEL Political Bureau member Nikos Ioannou then addressed the audience. He said, “Every time we are among the Cypriot community in London we feel a special sense of emotion and pride….because the generations of Cypriots here always remain creative, productive and above all, always have Cyprus in their hearts.”

Referring to our island, he said, “the problems we face are complex and difficult, but we must not lose our optimism. The majority of the Cypriot people want a solution to the Cyprus problem. The older generation wants to live in conditions of social security and to see what they have built blossom; our young people want to create, innovate, and live in a homeland with dignity and rights. They are waiting for the day when our country will at long last be united and Cypriots will live together in harmony and friendship.”

“I am sure that the Cypriot community in London will join us in this effort,” he concluded.

Mr Bambos Charalambous then took to the stage once again to honour the memory of our dear Neophytos Nicolaou, one of the main organisers of the Cypriot Wine Festival, stemming back to its humble beginnings as a bazaar in the car park of the Cypriot Community Centre. The coronavirus pandemic took the lives of hundreds of Cypriots in our community, and sadly, Neophytos was among those who left far too early. A man who with his contribution, altruism, sacrifices and hard work, not only helped keep the festival going over the years, but contributed to its enhancement.

“Neophytos honoured his party, our newspaper Parikiaki, his family and our country since 1963 when he immigrated to London at the age of 16,” said Mr Charalambous.

“He was an active member of AKEL in Britain since its creation in 1972, in 1994 he became financial controller of Parikiaki, and in 2003 he was elected to the post of Organising Secretary of AKEL in Britain. At the same time, he was a member of the Secretariat of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, where he served as Secretary for two terms. In Cyprus, he was elected a member of the Central Committee of AKEL.”

“He was the person our community and many families from Cyprus would turn to when needing support to cover medical expenses and finding emergency accommodation. Even after his retirement, he did not stop trying to help his fellow man. When asked by his former colleagues at Parikiaki why he continues to stress over such situations, his reply remains unforgettable: ‘Because when I die, I want people to remember me for the good that I did.’”

Mr Charalambous noted, that as a sign of appreciation, this year’s event is dedicated in his memory, with the pledge to continue the hard work and dedication he offered for more than 30 years. In conclusion, Evoulla Nicolaou, wife of our late comrade, was invited to the podium to receive a commemorative plaque.


Nikos Kourkoulis & Kelly Kelekidou wow the crowds!


The festival included a very rich and varied entertainment programme including talented artists and dancers from our community, and of course our amazing double headline acts Nikos Kourkoulis and Kelly Kelekidou who captivated audiences with their energy on stage!

Performing for the first time ever at CyWineFest, Nikos had everyone on their feet, performing his biggest and much loved hits including Tosa Dilina, Paizeis Me Ti Floga, Mera Me Ti Mera, Kapou Kapou, Kindynos, Mia Nihta Sto Paradiso, Opa Opa, Den Mporo (Ena Ena), Eline Kai Edene – all huge crowd pleasers!

He continued with nisiotika, tsiftetelia, and even threw in the Cypriot classic Ta Rialia! It was non-stop fun from beginning to end!

Kelly equally put on a top performance, amazing audiences with hits such as Glyka Glyka, Ma To Theo, Se Vgazo Akiro, Rixe Sto Kormi Mou Spirto, Sti Thessaloniki and many more.

She also belted out a string of zeimbekika and popular songs by other artists.

The two later set the stage on fire as they performed together their duets Lene Tosa and Eimaste Demeni, along with other favourites.

After concluding their performances on both days, Nikos and Kelly took the time to pose for photographs and speak with the lucky few who had meet and greet access.

The incredible couple were supported at the event by Manolis Stais, who also travelled from Greece, and caused a stir with his fantastic vocals!


Phenomenal entertainment 


This year’s line-up included superb performers from our community. Back by popular demand, Mixalis Theodosiouamazed the crowds with his own singles and popular tracks by other artists, getting people in the party mood.

Also attracting visitors to the stage was Tas Stassi of the Diastello band who made his CyWineFest debut. Accompanied by Mixalis on bouzouki, he thrilled audiences with his flute playing and wonderful vocals!

Tony Panayi returned to our event and had all the Marias in the house singing and dancing along to his infectious single!

We also welcomed the talented Georgia George to our stage for the first time. She performed songs by Greek artists who have inspired her, receiving a great applause from the audience!

Adding glitter and sparkle to the stage was the incredible dancers from Live 4 Dancing who dazzled with their rumba, salsa, and cha cha cha! It was the award-winning dance academy’s debut performance at CyWineFest and I’m sure we’ll be seeing them again!

Dance groups from Ashmole Greek School and St Demetrios Greek School went down a treat with traditional dances from Cyprus and Greece.

Adding some Disney magic was Christina Katsi and Bradley from Taylor Dance Academy who performed to Aladdin’s A Whole New World.

And the man who deserves a huge thank you, our resident DJ Chris Theoharous who kept the party going throughout the two days with his excellent music choices.


Exhibitors from Cyprus and the UK


The business expo included many successful companies promoting their business, services and products. Amongst them was Marathon Food, LAIKO, Karpasi Food Imports, KEAN, Bevelini Foods, Melisimou Honey, Emerald Property Consultants, International Family Law, Kafe Express, Partylite, Alexandra Couture, Asimi jewellery, Scents of Elysium, Archway Sheet Metal Works, Mrs Theo Education, The Fit Factory, Dwain Chambers Sports Academy, Hellenic TV, CYTEL UK, and the Metropolitan Police Service Greek and Cypriot Association.


Cypriot flavours


There was plenty to eat, plenty to drink and plenty of traditional Cypriot delicacies to sample…souvlakia by Tony’s Pita, kleftiko by the Cypriot Community Centre restaurant, lountza and halloumi sandwiches by Laikon Kafeneio, tasty halloumi fries by Halloumi King, as well as Aroma Patisserie’s delicious lokmades, shiamishi and koubes, Lefteris Bakery’s tasty tiropittes and other savouries, Alex’s rose flavoured ice-cream, and not forgetting the Panairkotika.


Pinne Krasin Na’sheis Zoin (Drinking Wine Gives You Life) 


As every year, quality Cypriot wine was on offer allowing visitors to sample the many different variations produced on our island. LOEL winery and Zivana was present, as was KEO.

Following the huge success of 2019, the cocktail bar made a comeback, once again with unique concoctions made using Cypriot alcoholic beverages.


Festival fun for children


CyWineFest offered many fun activities to keep the little ones amused. B’kos It’s Party Time was there with bouncy castles, sand art, candy floss & popcorn; there were glitter tattoos, colouring in stations, Greek books, gifts, a planting station, sweets & treats, fun games, and we once again took full advantage of the outdoor space and gave children the opportunity to take part in football tournaments, enjoy the huge inflatables and even a donkey ride!




We would like to say a massive thank you to all the volunteers who helped us over the two-day event. We truly appreciate all your efforts.


A massive thank you


A huge thank you to the festival’s sponsors and supporters whom without this celebration of all things Cypriot would not be possible: – Cyprus High Commission in the UK, Cyprus Tourism Organisation, Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Tourism, Office of the Presidential Commissioner, Ministry of Energy Commerce and Industry, Cyprus Ministry of Agriculture Rural Development and the Environment, Marathon Food, Tony’s Pita, Laiko Group, Star Estates & Lettings, Argo Management, Boulter & Co, Southern Territory, Azura Bar & Restaurant, C. Michael & Co, Premier Finance, NN Accountancy Services, Babinondas Restaurant, Sakkas Building Contractors, Azzura Digital, Spartan Elite Security Ltd, Alasia Commandaria, Zivania LOEL, Anthos, KEAN, Zivana Gold, Kafes Laikou, Kamanterena Winery, Ayia Nektaria, KEO, London Ticket Box, and our entertainment consultant, Showtime Promotions.

Finally, to the thousands of visitors who supported our event, to the management and staff of Parikiaki and all the CyWineFest team who worked tirelessly throughout the year and for putting in so many overtime hours in the run up to CyWineFest 2022.


Photos: Alexios Gennaris


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