Cyprus has an ideal climate for growing grapes, which explains why winemaking is an art on this island. Omodos, a quaint village in the Troödos Mountains, is a fine example: In addition to its vineyards, it is also home to the Omodos Wine Press (Linos tou Charilaou), a stunning medieval artifact.
Down the street from Timios Stavros Monastery is a small room filled with medieval winemaking paraphernalia such as vats, cauldrons, various tools, and, at the center, the impressive Omodos Wine Press. According to an interview with the current owner, the winemaking site is 700 to 800 years old.
The most imposing part of the Omodos Wine Press is the enormous double wooden beam that spans across the room. Attached to one end of the beam is a giant wooden screw weighed down by a large stone that can be raised and lowered by means of a pulley. In the medieval era, workers would place grapes on a large tray beneath the beam and cover them with planks. As two people rotated the screw, the heavy stone would rise and the beam would sink and press the grapes. Juice then seeped into half-buried vats—which would be sealed to prevent spoilage—for fermentation.
Although wineries in Omodos no longer use this traditional grape-pressing method, they still use local varieties of grapes such as Xynisteri and Mavro, which can be sampled from a wealth of outlets scattered throughout Omodos.