Last week I went to the Limassol Wine Festival and in my opinion it is the best calendar event in Cyprus.
10 Euros gets you entry into the immaculately kept public gardens in which the Limassol Wine Festival is held. It also entitles you to one free bottle of table wine from the local producers. For a further Euro you can get a plastic amphora to fill up with free wine which is provided by the Limassol municipality.
However, it seems that they have become less generous in the amount of refills that they will give this year. The reason for that is probably the fault of the English.
We stood next to a pair of shaven-headed bruisers at one of the many stalls where you can taste wine.
Their exact words were: “Just get it down you. Don't worry about any of that tasting malarkey.”
They looked suitably red-faced and drunk so it is hardly surprising that the local wine producers feel less inclined to give out free samples.
From what I have had so far the quality of the wine at the Limassol Wine Festival is not that great, but they do produce an excellent sweet desert wine known as Commandaria. During the tasting rounds you can also pick up a few good cognacs and brandies.
The setting of the Limassol Wine Festival is the best feature and each vineyard has serves up an attractive demonstration booth. A huge papier-mâché statue of a Cypriot peasant with a wine glass in hand looms over the proceedings, and the air is filled with the smoke of the wonderful cooked food.
Roast lamb, pork and chicken are all specialities there and you can order them with various Cyprus dishes made of potatoes and beans. It is really hearty local cuisine, the only problem is that the intense humidity of Limassol makes dining a rather sweaty experience. You can also choose to buy food from the many stalls which are set out, everything from Cyprus sweets and nuts to cheese tasting and even freshly cooked Chinese.
Traditional gypsy music is played by groups of violinists and onlookers get encouraged to join in the ‘Zorba the Greek’ dance.
The Limassol Wine Festival usually takes place in the last week of August into the beginning of September. It is located at the end of the long strip of seaside road in Limassol just before you reach the public parking lots on the left-hand side (if you are coming from Nicosia. Because there is hardly any public transport in Cyprus, you are advised to look for a hotel in Limassol if you plan to attend the event and enjoy all the wines that are on offer.