The largest island of Greece (grch. Kriti) with 8.335 km² in length of 260 and width of 60 kilometers is located in front of the southern exit of the Aegean Sea. From west to east, Crete is crossed by a mountain range of up to 3000 metres in height. Between the mountains there are fertile valleys. In ancient times it was the centre of the Cretan-Mycenaean culture, came into Roman possession in 67 BC and was then under Eastern Roman, Arab, Venetian and Ottoman rule. Only in the year 1913 the island came to Greece. It is believed that Crete was home to the first cultivated vineyards in the Mediterranean, but it is certainly one of the oldest wine growing cultures. Near the municipality of Archanes, a wine press was discovered during excavations in Vathipetro, dating from 2000 BC. In the Middle Ages the island was called Candia, the sweet wines from Malvasia and Muscat were shipped to all of Europe via the port city of Monemvasia(Peloponnese).
Today, the vineyard area is about 50,000 hectares, mainly in the north of the island, where the mountains protect from the hot desert winds of North Africa. Mostly table grapes and raisins are produced, but after all 20% of the Greek wine comes from here. Almost exclusively autochthonous grape varieties are cultivated, the most important ones being Kotsifali, Liatiko, Mandilaria, Romeiko, Thrapsathiri and Vilana. Until the mid-1970s, the island was spared from phylloxera, which is why most of the vines were ungrafted. Then the pest struck here too, requiring a switch to vines with resistant rootstocks.
For a long time Crete was considered a pure producer of mass wines by large winegrowers' cooperatives with extremely high yields of over 400 hl/ha. From the 1990s onwards, a gradual rethinking took place. There are four appellations classified as POP (previously OPAP and OPE), these are Archanes (red wine), Dafnes (red wine), Peza (red wine and white wine) and Sitia (red wine and white wine). Well known producers are Alexakis, Boutari, Creta Olympias Winery, Digenakis, Douloufakis, Ekonomou, Lyrarakis, Minos Cretan Wines and Milliarakis.