There are thousands references from the Minoan times to the cultivation of vineyards for wine making. Minoan varieties are still grown today, in the same fields and sometimes with the same methods.
There is no Cretan meal without wine, which the landlord particularly praises. Almost every house has its own wine. The vineyard needs care after the harvest, starting with a basic trimming. The main trimming takes place, depending on the area and the altitude, in January or February. The vineyard needs of course a lot more works, like disinfection with sulphur.
The ripening and the harvest take place depending on the variety and the altitude of the area in the first ten days of August until the beginning of October. Until then the vine requires constant supervision and work, for the prevention of various diseases.
The social dimension of the grape-harvest gives us a characteristic aspect of agricultural life in Crete. From dawn friends and relatives collect and carry the grapes. When the grape-harvest ends, the grapes are pressed either with the feet or with machines and the grape juice is produced. The sunshine of Crete gives the juice a lot of sugars so we have several high-degree wines.
At this moment the landlady will take grape juice, “boil” it with ashes and serve it with almonds, walnuts, sesame and cinnamon. When the pressing ends, the grape juice is placed in barrels or remains in the press for some hours to obtain colour and tannins. Then it’s time party time. Everybody sits around the rich table with the best wines of the house and gives wishes to the landlord. The fatigue of the day is transformed into song and dance.