Giannis Stilianou and his teenage son, personally tend to their 3 hectares of organic vineyards, planted only with indigenous Cretan varieties. There is no irrigation or any kind of spraying. The vines are stressed under the hot, Cretan Sun, and then cooled off by the mountain breeze. This shows in the impressive concentration and intense aromatics of the artisanal Stilianou wines.
Giannis’ family emigrated to Crete after the last war between Greece and Turkey, a century ago, along with the rest of a Greek population wave, and brought with them many techniques of Asia Minor. One of them was the sun drying of grapes on “tsisveres“, wooden boards that are spread on the ground during the day, and stacked at night, in a way that allows for air to flow through and prevent any humidity issues. This traditional method is used in the product of the naturally sweet, sun dried Kotsifali, the only sweet vinification of the grape in the world.
Giannis Stilianou initially decided to follow a different career path, and studied engineering. After working in that field for a while, he decided his heart belonged in the vineyards, where he grew up and loved as a kid and teenager.
- Winery: Stilianou
- Focus: Organic blends from indigenous Cretan varieties
- Region: Kounavoi, Heraklion (Crete)
- Year founded: 1922
- Size: 3 hectares
- Grapes: Vidiano / Thrapsathiri / Vilana / Kotsifali / Mandilari
- Viticulture: Organic / Dry / Unsprayed
- Climate:Subtle Winters with Continental traits. Humid Falls. The Northwest winds during the Summer tame the extreme heat, while there is great variance of temperature during the 24 hours of the day.
- Soil: Limestone, rock
- Vine age: Planted between 1982 and 2011
- Altitude: 350-420m
- Distance from coast: 8 miles
- Percentage of estate owned grapes: 100%