Thus protected in the north side, overlooking the Cretan Sea, the Sitia's vineyards (part of the Cretan, the most traditional vineyards of Europe) begin from a height of 600 m. above sea level and stretch downhill towards the sea. They dominate the hillsides with the ancient terraces in a calcareous and sandy soil.
It's growing in the polymorph landscape of Sitia following it in its ever changing alteration of hills and valleys which pleasantly surprises and fascinates the visitor. In an ancient long co-existence with this natural environment, the local varieties of grapes endow the territory with a priceless richness of bio-diversity. The mild and without extremes winter, combined with long hot and dry summer, the long periods of sunlight during the year and the cool breeze of the Cretan sea, ensure ideal conditions to the germinate cycle of the vine. Thus it's not strange that Sitia holds a 4000 years old tradition in winery and vine cultivation. the confirmation comes from the Minoan Palace of Kato Zakros where the oldest cultivated vineyard was found.
Indeed, the wine production in Sitia region met great commercial success. Most notable periods, during its historical course, were the Roman era when Sitia's wines were transported to Rome and other Mediterranean destinations into well sealed amphoras and during the Venetian presence in Crete (12th-16th century) when the Cretan wine reached the zenith of its fame.
But even today the wine holds an important role in the model of the Cretan nutrition. A fact that contributed a great deal in the recognition of the local wine's values concerning health and longevity. And let us not forget that recent findings detected a great number of components which are acting as anti-oxidant in the human body.
The favorable soil and climatic conditions and the systematic cultivation of the area since the ancient times, produces excellent varieties of grapes from which the re-known Sitia wines originate.
The most common varieties are those of Liatiko, Muscat, Myrodato, Dafnato, Asyrtiko, Roman, Mantilari, Kotsifali, Vilana, Plito, Athiri, Thapsathiri and many more which upon and with their different combinations, the local producers depend to create the Sitia's wines. Wines for all gastronomic demands and stable tastes which last and remain intact through the years.
Visitors in late August and September will witness the grape harvest and will more than likely be offered an armful! Wine is still made in the traditional way by treading the grapes. The must left over is used to distil the local drink Raki. During October, the "Kazanemata", (raki-making sessions) are held you may see them at the roadside. Visitors are always welcome and given a sample. It is quite an exceptional experience!