Chateau St. Hilarion
North Cyprus Wines
By Jack Lobb
Cyprus has some 5,000 years of wine making history. However, the perception of the quality of wine produced is generally very low. It has been said that the weather conditions in Cyprus are not conducive to quality wine production.
Mustafa Seyfi, the owner of St. Hilarion wines, was however determined to prove this idea to be incorrect. After years of detailed research and advice from international wine consultants, the village of Gecitköy was found to be one of the coolest areas in Cyprus and the decision was made to locate his winery here.
Cyprus has several varieties of local grapes; including Mavro and Xynisteri but they are not suitable for the production of high quality wines. It was decided to introduce some of the best international varieties of grape vines including Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Semillon. The vines have been planted according to the latest viticultural practices and the annual cultivation programme is built around restricting yield and enhancing quality.
The wine production facility is comprised of ‘state of the art’ equipment. Top quality temperature controlled fermentation vats were imported from Italy along with all the other necessary downstream equipment. Mustafa, states that the most important ingredient in his wine making, is knowledge and to this end he has visited many of the world’s classic wine regions and is assisted by expert consultants from the UK and South Africa. With no history of experienced qualified technicians, local people are being trained at his winery; giving them the necessary skills and to create local employment.
It has taken some 14 years to bring the winery to the level it is now and there is a continual stream of new investment taking place. The main vineyard in Gecitköy covers an area of approximately 50 donums and after the initial ploughing an irrigation and trellis system was put in place. In such a hot climate it is important that the vine canopy is developed to give the greatest shade possible; to give the balanced vines and quality fruit production.
The main vines chosen for Chateau St. Hilarion are the finest clones of international varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. In addition there are small plantings of many other varieties; the reds including Merlot, Mourvedre, Cinsault , Grenache and the whites include Chardonnnay, Semillon and Chenin Blanc.
There are now eleven wines in the St. Hilarion range, following the addition of the Levant range of table wines, which offer particularly price competitive red, white and rosé options.
Continuing the development of the company is a passion for Mustafa
Seyfi and in light of this further investment he plans including the opening of a distillery for the production of quality spirits.
Another first for the company is the opening of their Lion Heart ‘micro brewery’. This year has seen the launch of their range of five bottle conditioned real ales. These beers are produced using the finest malt and hops imported from the U.K. To learn more of these beers click here.
Cape Wines of Catalkŏy, who for many years had concentrated on the sale and marketing of South African wines, have been appointed to distribute the complete ranges of St. Hilarion wines and Lions Heart beers. These beers and wines are now becoming more widely available across North Cyprus and tastings for these products have become a regular feature of Cape Wines promotional activities for these products.
Jack Lobb from Cape Wines can be contacted for further details of availability or to arrange tastings of these products at both markets, restaurants and bars. Tel: 0533 842 6457 or email firstname.lastname@example.org