History of the company
Undoubtedly there is no Cretan family which, in the course of time, has not been directly involved in the production of wine. For the inhabitants of the island this product has been, and will remain, the most beloved of all goods, which the Cretan soil bountifully offers us.
Brought up in this environment, in 1966 the founders of the company decided to become professionally involved with the production of wine. The founding of the company was accompanied by planting some of the best local wine varieties, namely the white Vilana, and the reds Kotsifali and Mandilaria. The winery is situated in one of the most noteworthy vineyard regions of Crete, namely at Alagni, Heraklion, the most mountainous village of the appellation area (AOC) of PEZA.
The company only started bottling wines under the Lyrarakis family brand in the early nineties. The first vintage of Lyrarakis was 1992, until then all the production was sold in bulk to major wineries of Greece or abroad.
Today, the company is managed by the second generation. The family vineyard comprises of 14 hectares of gravel soil on limestone and is situated on an average altitude of 550 meters. Since the late eighties special attention is paid to rare Cretan varieties. In particular the white varieties “Dafni” and “Plyto” that have been saved from extinction constitute a source of pride for the vine-grower Manolis Lyrarakis. Vilana, White Muscat and Sauvignon Blanc complement the range of white varieties. As far as the red varieties are concerned, the local Kotsifali, Mandilari, and Black Muscat are complemented by the foreign varieties Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The family and technical team puts a lot of effort into experimenting with smaller batches of other native varieties, in the hope to be able to offer you new exciting wines soon.
The company is recognized as the leading quality producer on the island, focusing on the use of native varieties – some blends also use foreign varieties. The family is credited for reviving the two ancient local white varieties, Dafni and Plyto, which are part of the company’s range of wines called “The Treasures of Crete”. The latest pride in our “Treasures of Crete” range of wines is the oaked red wine from 100% Mandilari, the red variety that was never vinificated by itself on Crete. Lyrarakis is also credited for being the first winery of Crete to blend the native Kotsifali variety with Syrah, in order to create an unusually exciting red blend, back in the late nineties. Lyrarakis wines have won numerous international awards and are exported in most of the European countries and abroad (USA & CANADA).
The winery is located at the northern side of the community of Alagni, almost in the middle of the small plateau. The construction of the new bottling facility finished in 2004. After that, the family also finished the first phase of the renovation of the visitable cellar, where the oak barrels are stored and bottle aging takes place. The cellar can now welcome visitors on a regular basis.