A total of 55% of the Cypriot wine demand is covered by local wine varieties, with the remaining 45% provided by varieties coming from EU and non-EU countries, the parliamentary committee of Commerce heard on Tuesday.

The committee discussed the problems emerging in the trade and promotion of Cypriot wines in the local and foreign markets as well ways to tackle them.

Giorgos Nefytou, a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture said Cypriot wineries should focus on the local market, rather on exports, with a view to increase their market share and highlighted the need to promote Cypriot wines and especially commandaria, a unique sweet dessert wine and zivania a colourless Cypriot pomace brandy.

As he noted Cyprus has currently approximately 130 wine producers enlisted as legal entities whereas an additional 80 producers are registered as natural persons.

The local average annual output for the period of 2011 – 2024 is around 9 million litres, while consumption amounts to 16 million litres.

Neofytou said there are 70,000 acres of vineyards in Cyprus with 40 wine varieties, of which Xynisteri (white), local black (Mavro) and Soultanina enjoy the largest share accounting to approximately 70% of the vineyards area.

As he added, there are nine local Cypriot varieties, of which Xyninsteri, Local Black, Kanela, Basilissia, Spourtiko, Yiannoudi and Maratheftiko.

“Everyone understands the importance of local varieties as they provide identity to the Cypriot wine,” he said

He however noted Cypriot producers have not exploited the fact that Cyprus has five wines considered as products of protected origin (PDO).

Commandaria, Laona of Akamas and Vouni Panagia enjoy a PDO status.

Furthermore, Andreas Karamanis, a representative of the Ministry of Commerce, said the Ministry’s Department of Commerce in the last three years is implementing a national action plan for Cypriot wines including a series of targeted actions such as participation in exhibitions abroad with a state promoted kiosk.

He added that a grant is being provided for private participation both in exhibitions in Cyprus and abroad, advertisements and articles in specialised magazines, the Ministry supports Cypriot wineries in entering foreign markets.

Karamanis said since the implementation of this strategy a total of €14.8 million have been approved in grants to 45 wineries of which 13 are newly established.

On inland exports, Karamanis said these amounted to €1.3 million in 2023 whereas for the period of 2020 – 2023 amounted to €5.5 million, marking an increase of 48% in 2023 over 2020.

“The Cypriot wine has been established internationally and continues to win recognition and prestige in significant markets abroad,” he said.

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