History of the Coin

KolossiCommandaria is an amber-coloured dessert wine produced in the island of Cyprus since 4000 years ago. It is produced by local Cyprus grapes mavro (black) and xinisteri (a fruity white grape). The initial references about Commandaria are going back to ancient Greek poet Homer who mentions a sweet wine produced in Cyprus. 

Commandaria gets its name from the Gran Commanderie, an area surrounding the well preserved Kolossi Castle which is located west of Limassol. 

The Castle was the Commanderia (Headquarters) of the Knights Templars in the 12th Century. The wine became very famous among the Knights. It was consumed locally but also was exported to many European Royal Courts. 

Le commanderieSoon the wine became synonymous with Gran Commanderie and afterwards this name was extended also to the area where the wine was produced. During his Marriage with Berengaria, In the 12th century Richard the Lionheart pronounced Commandaria as the “wine of the kings and the king of the wines”

 

The wine has a rich history, said to date back to the time of the ancient Greeks, where it was a popular drink at festivals celebrating the goddess Aphrodite. A dried grape wine from Cyprus was first known to be described in 800 BC by the Greek poet Hesiod and was known as the Cypriot Manna. Legend has it that in the 13th century Philip Augustus of France held the first ever wine tasting competition. 

Battle of WinesThe event, branded The Battle of the Wines (fr. La Bataille des Vins), was recorded in a notable French poem written by Henry d'Andeli in 1224. The competition which included wines from all over Europe and France, was won by a wine from Cyprus widely believed to be Commandaria. 

Another legend has it that an Ottoman sultan invaded the island just to acquire Commandaria.