Minos – Miliarakis Winery
MINOS winery is in its eighth decade and utilizes local grape varieties such as Kotsifali and Mandilari for red wines, and Vilana, Vidiano, and Thrapsathiri for white wines. The company ages a portion of its red wine production in French oak barrels of 225 and 300 liters each, stored in an underground area designed to maintain ideal temperature and humidity conditions. MINOS also strives to promote Cretan vineyards and their unique varieties, utilizing innovative methods that have not been previously utilized in Crete. Examples of this include the production of white wine using the red Kotsifali grape introducing white wine from Vilana stored in barrels (Vilana Fume), and successfully reintroducing the white Malvasia grape variety in 2004 to create a dry wine. Additionally, the company has expanded its range to include foreign grape varieties such as Roussanne, Grenache Rouge, Syrah, and Mourvedre.
MINOS currently operates a vineyard that includes privately owned and contract vineyards covering 20 hectares and continues to work with local farmers to ensure high-quality grapes. The company is family-owned and operated, with the founding family members, including 3rd generation member Takis Miliarakis, still leading the company. Since 1998, the 4th generation member Nikos Miliarakis has also joined the company, and more recently, Takis’ daughter Maria Miliaraki has also become a part of the team. MINOS employs 10 people year-round, who take pride in their work and bring valuable experience to the production process.
The company’s total annual production is currently 300,000 to 350,000 bottles, with 70% consumed on the island of Crete, 10% traded throughout Greece, and the remaining 20% exported to destinations such as Canada, The Netherlands, Serbia, Sweden, Denmark, Cyprus, and China
TOUR AND TASTING
Miliarakis’ Winery has established wine-tasting and presentation facilities at their Peza location, recognizing wine as a sensory experience. Upon entering the winery, visitors are greeted by a vintage bicycle that was previously used to transport wine to Heraklion and a historical Blackstone generator that provided power to the winery and half of the village of Peza. The old winery has been restored and is now divided into four levels, covering an area of 900 m2. It has been named “Sifis Miliarakis” in tribute to the third generation of the family, represented by Nikos Miliarakis’ son.
The visitable premises include a museum featuring ancient wine-making machineries such as wine presses, manually operated bottling equipment, and a traditional stone wine press. The area also displays historic photographs of the winery, including one featuring the Apollo spacecraft astronauts with MINOS wines.
In addition, a projection room seating 200 people, equipped with red seats from Heraklion’s old Astoria cinema, screens a 20-minute film on the history of wine, olive oil, and tsikoudia in Crete, as well as the extensive history of the MINOS Company. A wine-tasting room with seating for 145 people and furniture from a traditional cafe is also available. Visitors can sample different labels and learn about the unique and fascinating range of company wines, as well as inquire about their characteristics.
A second wine-tasting room with handmade tables crafted from old winery machinery and seating for 55 people was established in 2009. A second projection room for 55 people that can operate independently of other areas was also added. Lastly, the visitors’ retail shop offers traditional Cretan high-quality products, including olive oil, olive soap, spices, honey, and local herbs, in addition to wine.