Hi Orestis , It’s a pleasure to have this opportunity to get to know your story and the story of Tsiakkas winery.
Can you please tell us the story of how Tsiakkas winery was established?
The winery was established in 1988 by my parents with the first year’s production being 500 bottles. My father wanted to make wine as a hobby, so he ventured in to the wine making business. He sold all the bottles quite easily and decided that this was a good business opportunity.
The same year the winery was established you were born was this a coincidence or did this influence a change of lifestyle in the family?
My birth was a coincidence. However, my parents thought that it was a sign so they named the winery after my name; Orestis Winery. Of course 4 years down the road my twin siblings were born so they had to change the name to our surname. Personally I prefer it that way. The surname (Laughs)…
Do you live in Pelendri? How long is the drive from Limassol?
Although is used to live at the winery all year round, now my permanent residence is in Limassol. However, during the harvest (July-October) the whole family is staying at the winery. It is the most crucial time period and we have to remain vigilant. The work starts from 06:00 in the morning until 21:00 at night, seven days a week. Practically there is no time to drive back to Limassol (laughs).
The drive time from Limassol to work is 35 minutes. A lot of people are surprised to hear this, but when I ask them how long does it take for them to drive to work, in the morning traffic they then understand how reasonable it is.
Is the entire family involved in the winery?
Well everyone is involved somehow. Our parents are still in charge of the business. My father is taking care of the operations, my mother is behind every monthly salary and the tastiest lunch. Personally, I oversee the wine-production and my brother is in charge of the vineyards. My sister (Eleni Tsiakka) is in charge of hospitality and the youngest one is still studying business, although he comes often to help out. He is the man behind every beautiful photo portrayed on our social media.
Do you have a preferred wine? What product is your best seller?
I can’t say I have a preferred wine. The wine I am drinking depends on my food or vice versa. After all, this is the beauty about it. Food and wine pairing is crucial, since one has to complement the other.
If I had to choose one, it would be our experimental Mavro Mouklos since I find it the most versatile wine in terms of food pairing.
When do new productions come out?
Producing wine is like being a chef. The only difference is that we have the opportunity to ‘cook’ once a year. If the experiment fails, then we have to wait until the next harvest. White wines are usually being released by December-January and Red wines between March-April.
What is the best way to find your products?
This depends on the type of the product. Our regular line can be found in supermarkets and good restaurants. Our premium line is only sold in wine shops and restaurants. The experimental line can only be found at the winery. If someone is looking for something specific, they can contact us on social media and we can help them.
How has the Cyprus wine perception improved over the past year and what do you think the future entails?
The quality of Cypriot wine has made a big leap over the past 10 years. I believe Cypriot wine producers will invest more and more in indigenous varieties and new experimentations. The Cypriot wine consumer will support more the products since they appreciate the efforts being done by the wine producers. The problem in this equation is to convince our restaurant owners to list more Cypriot wines on their wine menus. The consumption of imported wine in Cyprus is still more than 50% compared to domestic production.
Can you give us an understanding on your products?
We aim for our products to evoke the sense of terroir and history. This means minimum intervention during farming and wine production. After all we are 100% organic. Our vision is to place Cyprus back in the world wine map. Exactly where it was more than 4000 years ago!
After all we are 100% organic. Our vision is to place Cyprus back in the world wine map. Exactly where it was more than 4000 years ago!
How has the current situation affected your operations?
The corona virus has affected us deeply. The wine sales dropped heavily since the wine consumption is lower now. During these uncertain times we decided to focus more in the vineyard works and organization of the winery in general. The life cycle cannot be stopped and we have to remain attentive throughout.
I am aware you offer a wonderful tour of your facilities, what is the best way to attend or organize such a tour?
Thank you for this. The best way is to give us a phone call to arrange an appointment. Of course we welcome walk-ins or no reservations. We always try to accommodate our guest’s needs. If they are big groups or they want something special we always try to find the best solution. We provide tasting of all of our products, older vintages and experimental wines. Tour is also available and people can enjoy a bottle of wine with a homemade vegan cheese platter made by my sister all year round. Our wine shop has all of our portfolio wines and also other homemade products (olive oil, honey, peanut butter etc.) and wine accessories.
Tour is also available and people can enjoy a bottle of wine with a homemade vegan cheese platter made by my sister all year round.
In addition to locals, what other nationalities usually visit your winery?
The most common are English through tourist operators. Other common nationalities are German, French and Israel. Since we are a quite remote location, a tourist must love wine in order to come and visit us. Our annual visits keep on increasing so we must be doing something right. The fact that there is always a family member there, making sure to provide the best hospitality, it is well received.
How is the life of young entrepreneur involved in a winery? How is your regular day?
One of the reasons I love my job is that every day is never the same. I can start work in the morning in the vineyards, continue in the winery to rack a wine, then welcome a visitor and in the afternoon have a business dinner with one of our consultants. Of course we cannot do everything, so I am mainly focused in the wine production and business development. This also involves doing a lot of business trips abroad to promote. We do export in 9 countries at the moment; Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Italy, France, USA, U.K, China and Belgium.
What are the next steps for Tsiakkas winery?
We are currently working on a 5 year plan these days which is divided in 3 phases. The first phase has already started and involves the construction of the visitor’s entrance and a tower where we will host seminars and private wine tastings. If you think about it, the tallest tower roof in Limassol will be found at Tsiakkas winery (Laughs).
The second phase is the renovation of the existing wine tasting area in order to provide a relaxing atmosphere and a better view of our vineyards. Finally, the last phase involves the building of a new wine making facility next to our existing one. The reason is to have a better operations management of our wine production. This will also help us improve the experimentations we are doing and also increase wine quality.