The wines of Crete are among some of the most prestigious drinks in the Greek market. And there are more wine varieties than you can count. Wherever you go in Crete, you won’t be far from a local winery, especially in the region of Heraklion. Keep reading to discover the top wineries in Heraklion. Are you ready to tour the island and discover the best wine tasting in Heraklion? Prepare for a tour you will long remember, as long as you remain sober at least. Hard to achieve, but doable.
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LAST-MINUTE PLANS FOR CRETE?
– Use Ferryhopper and Skyscanner for the best ticket rates.
– Find great accommodation deals on Booking.com.
– Compare car rental prices with Discover Cars.
– Check the best tours with GetYourGuide.
– Visit Elafonisi, discover Balos Beach, hike Samaria, or explore Knossos.
– Pack the Lonely Planet Guide to Crete or get my digital guide to Chania.
Best Hotels in Heraklion
Affordable: Candia Studios & Rooms or Rea Hotel in the city center.
Mid-range: Capsis Astoria and Veneziano Boutique Hotel in town.
Luxury: GDM Megaron H. M. Hotel or Galaxy Iraklio in the center.
Check also Heraklion Accommodation Guide and Best Places to Stay in Crete.
Wine Tasting Crete: Top Wineries to Visit in Heraklion
There are plenty of things to do in Heraklion, the capital of Crete, during your trip. You can discover the fantastic Minoan Palace of Knossos, drive south to Matala, or even try some of the most delicious restaurants!
But the fun will not end there. Known as a top wine region in Greece, Crete is home to some fantastic labels that you need to try. And when it comes to the regions of the island, the so-called Iraklio Wine Country is a great place to start from. So, if you’re visiting the capital, you can either join an organized Heraklion wine tour or have a little fun on your own and take some time to visit at least one winery in Heraklion, you won’t regret it!
In no particular order, these are some of the wineries to visit in Heraklion during your trip to Crete, take a look!
One of the most unique Heraklion Wineries is no other than Agelakis Estate. Surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, this family vineyard stands on the edge of the Thrapsano village, known for its art of pottery since antiquity. What makes this winery unique is the revival of an ancient tradition to use authentic clay vessels in the winemaking process.
Once you visit Agelakis Winery, remember to try their White Material label. With aromas of sweet apple and apricot, this dry wine with a fruity aftertaste is a perfect idea for summer.
One more favorite of mine, Stilianou Winery is located in the village of Kounavi. The amazing Theon Dora Dry White Wine is among the best whites I’ve tried this summer. This is an organic dry white wine from the local Vilana, Vidiano, and Thrapsatiri grapes.
This family business cultivates its vineyards on mountainous terrain, always according to organic standards which respect nature and tradition. You shouldn’t miss the chance to visit this boutique winery, and if you’re not in the area, do get a bottle of their wine!
Overlooking Heraklion from an altitude of 450 meters, the winery of the Diamantakis family makes for a great and swift escape from the hustle of the city. The province, named Malevizi, has a long history in vine cultivation and production of various spirits. All thanks to its rich soils and ideal microclimate.
Finding your way up here, you will be delighted to taste different wines. Before any others, make sure to try the Diamantakis Vidiano. Its rich taste comes from the aromas of orange peel, chamomile, honey, and other white flesh fruits.
Not far away, Domaine Paterianakis is a boutique family winery that aspires to amaze you with its organic and natural wines from indigenous grapes. It is located near the village of Melesses, in the heart of the Heraklion wine region. Locals here have turned winemaking into living art, bringing with them traditions and secrets that go back thousands of years.
A product of this knowledge is their Moschato Spinas, a white wine that is also sold abroad. Its delicious and fresh taste brings memories of elderflower and jasmine, next to fruits like melon, apple, and pear. Next to the taste, you will love its fruity aroma, which makes it ideal even for solo drinking.
(One of my favorite family-run wineries in Heraklion)
A winery with a mission, Domaine Gavalas aspires to create a winemaking trend that puts the environment above anything else. Visionary Nikos Gavalas added all the vineyards in the village Vorias as part of an organic cultivation system in 2001. His goal is to enhance soil fertility and prevent pest problems.
Prioritizing quality over quantity, Domaine Gavalas is home to some of the most exquisite Heraklion wines.
For example, Efivos is a red wine label that puts together three elegant Cretan grape varieties! Mandilari, Kotsifali, and Syrah. It is all you ever wished for. Juicy, plummy… silky smooth! Here is an article about my visit to the winery!
Only 15 kilometers south of Heraklion, the picturesque Venerato village houses the small but delightful Efrosini Winery. After you visit the 16th-century Venetian mansions in Venerato, you should not miss a tour of this local family business. Since 1999, Efrosini Winery has been cultivating both local and international wine varieties.
One of its specialties is the Natural Sweet Wine Aureo. A wine that comes from grapes that remain in oak barrels for 12 months after 10 days of sun drying. If you haven’t heard of Liasta Wine, it is time to taste it. And get to learn more about sweet winemaking in Greece.
Only one kilometer north of the ancient site of Gortyna (check it here), Domaine Zacharioudakis is a traditional winery just outside the village of Plouti. Upon your visit here, you cannot but admire the magnificent views over the Valley of Messara, the Libyan Sea, and the Asterousia mountains. The Cretan landscape at its best… and if you pair it with some thrilling wine tasting, you’ll be having the perfect Heraklion experience!
Domaine Zacharioudakis is the ideal stopover on your way to the archaeological site of Knossos. Once here, make sure to taste the delicious semi-dry rose wine with the label Victoria, with aromas of wild strawberries, peaches, and citrus flowers. All gentlemen there, be aware! Women love this wine! In any case, make sure to get some for your trip back home.
One of the largest wineries on the island, Alexakis Estate produces wines, many of which have obtained global recognition and brought awards to Greece. Located near the village of Semeli, it only takes 15 minutes to get from the center of Heraklion to the winery.
The only thing to worry about is that you won’t know which wine to taste first. If you can’t decide fast enough, remember to try the dry white wine of Mare di Candia, with distinct lemon hints. Or choose Artis, a label featuring a blend of two indigenous grape varieties with aromas of citrus and tropical fruits.
Located in the heart of the Malevizi district, near the village of Venerato, Idaia Winery is a multi-awarded winery with global recognition. Sweet wine has been the specialty of the region since the Venetian rule. And it goes even further back in time, with Minoan and Roman winepresses still present in the area.
Among the many indigenous varieties and unique labels, Hestia Mandilari will steal your heart with its long aftertaste and clean finish. This dry red wine brings aromas of ripe red fruits and vanilla. Your only dilemma will be whether you should buy another suitcase to take some bottles home with you.
Silva Daskalaki Winery
Heraklion wineries never cease to surprise you. This time, Silva Daskalaki Winery is a small family business that specializes in organic and biodynamic wines. Situated in the picturesque village of Siva, it is an ideal stop if you are heading to Matala. Apart from the wines, you will love the vibe of this rural area with its many plantations and olive groves.
The moment you step your foot into Silva Daskalaki Winery, you will experience Cretan hospitality at its best. With more than 100-year history, the winery is now run by a woman who has added to its success. Speaking of labels, you have to try Vorinos White with its citrus and grapefruit aromas. It is one of the best Vidiano wines on the market… I mean, seriously, this wine is superb!
Vathypetro, in Heraklion, is the village home to the oldest known wine press ever discovered!
Vathypetro is located about 5 km south of Archanes, and it was probably on the route that took from Knossos to the southern area of Messara during the Minoan times. A visit to this archaeological site is one more thing to do in Heraklion during your trip to Crete.
Lyrarakis Winery: Heraklion Wine Tasting at its Best!
The Lyrarakis Estate is one of the most prominent wineries in Crete. Sitting at an altitude of 550 meters, Lyrarakis Winery and its owners specialize in local near-extinct wine varieties. And the surroundings are as good as their wine. You will love the views over the Lasithi mountains and the nearby villages of Alagni. You can read about my visit to this winery here.
When it comes to wine choices, you will be spoiled. Make sure to try more than a few varieties, and ask the sommelier to advise on the order you taste them. If you are a fan of white wine, Dafni Psarades, Plyto Psarades, and Melissaki Gerodeti are all dry white wine labels that you have to try. Their aromas of lemon and white flesh fruits will let you ponder which one to buy first.
If you are looking for a different Heraklion wine tasting experience, Douloufakis Winery is your best choice. By the moment you reach the winery at the village of Dafnes, you cannot help but notice the viticulturist character of the region. And then, it is time to take a private tour and dive deeper into the history and winemaking process in Douloufakis Estate.
For a change of tastes, remember to try the unique Douloufakis Sparkling Wine. Apples, apricots, and honey give this white wine a delicate aroma with a long aftertaste. This vibrant and refreshing sparkling wine is all you need to survive the heat of Cretan summer or to celebrate your holiday in Crete!
Minos Wines Miliarakis Winery
Just 20 minutes from Heraklion, The Miliaraki Vineyard House lies at the peak of a small hill in the ancient village of Saba, which has a history that goes back more than 2400 years. Now, Miliaraki Estates welcomes nature and history lovers to a journey through Cretan wine history while tasting local varieties.
Their smoked white wine Vilana Fume is one of the most prestigious and unique wines of Heraklion. It has apricot and peach fragrances that come in perfect harmony with the various nut and vanilla notes. After you taste it, you might want to take some home. And who wouldn’t?
Paraskeva is one more Heraklion winery that has risen as a prominent player in the Cretan wine industry. Situated between Cave Sarchos and the village of the same name, in Malevizi, it is only 30 kilometers from the center of Heraklion. Whether you want to taste signature products or seek to find a venue for an upcoming event, Paraskeva Winery is the place to go.
Above all, do not forget to taste their rose dry wine 4 Roses. A blend of four varieties, this label is about one of the best roses on the island. Its unique taste has much to do with the scents of strawberry, rose, and red fruit, all put together to give a fruity aromatic wine you will love. I know I do!
The epitome of a modern and top technological winery, Michalakis Estate is a precious gem of Cretan winery. Situated in the heart of Crete and yet only 32 kilometers from Heraklion, this contemporary winery carries a history of more than 60 years. The success of this family business lies in the high-quality wines it has always produced.
Among the many choices, Moschato Spinas is a sparkling dry white wine by Michalakis Estate. Pear, red apple, and fine bubbles combine to create an elegant balance between minerality and acidity. You have never tasted anything like that. And it is time to experience it first hand.
On the outskirts of the Kounavi village, another surprise awaits. Titakis Wines has a kind of unique twisted philosophy and a creative approach to winemaking. Here, everything is about the experience. And that does not only apply to wines such as the unique white Impetus, a remarkable wine with hints of citrus and grapefruit.
As you taste their many varieties, you will have a panoramic view of the surrounding hills with vineyards and olives. At the same time, you will browse old vintage equipment exhibits and learn the history of winemaking in Crete.
Above all, you will get to know the success of this family business, now run by a very smart woman who is doing an awesome job promoting excellence within the Cretan wines.
Built outside the village of Skalani, Boutari Estate is one of the most recognized wineries around the country. Boutari Winery has been in the wine market since the 1990s but only opened the first estate in Crete in 2004. You can notice that the moment you enter the vineyard.
The novelty and vibe of the place are outstanding. And you can even spend the night at the romantic Scalani Hills Boutari Winery & Residences, an experience you should not miss for anything in the world!
The modern equipment and their established methodology of winemaking mean the final products are always of exceptional quality. And that applies to the sweet red wine Iouliatiko, which has a deep red color and rich aroma of cocoa and coffee that will impress even the hardcore fans of white wine.
In short, wine is an integral part of Cretan life and economy. If you want to taste the finest wines on the island, make sure to visit a local winery in Heraklion. The experience will make you love Crete even more.
Are you thinking about visiting any of these wineries in Heraklion? Or even about trying some Heraklion wine tasting experience?
Let me know in the comments below!
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Written by Dimitrios Tsevremes
Passionate about travel, spirituality, and sports, I have lived in 5 countries and traveled to more places than I have counted. Writing for me is a way to express myself and my creativity. Whether I write for my blog or a freelancing gig, I always fall in love with the process and often lose my sense of time. If you want, you can check out more about me and my work here.
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About the author of this blog:
Gabi has been living in Crete for the last five years. Here, she juggles being a solo mom, hosting culinary tours in the summer, translating, and writing for The Tiny Book and her other blogs.
She’s written for Greek Reporter, published three travel guides about Greece, and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person would be able to handle.