Sustainable Winegrowing, Crete



Greece's biggest island Crete lies on the southern end of the Aegean Sea in the Mediterranean basin and is one of the oldest wine-growing regions in the world. Archaeological findings show that wine-growing has been ongoing here for over 4000 years. To date, one fifth of Greek wines are produced on the island. In the last decades wine-growers have concentrated on mass production, often neglecting ecological and social sustainability. Small winegrowers who are often growing native grapes are suffering from a lack of opportunities to sell their products to local tourism industry. The change to sustainable winegrowing will create an innovative sustainable product and thereby will help to preserve the natural basis for tourism development on Crete.
The Cretan terroir is characterized by the Mediterranean climatic, geological and geographical aspects and the endemic biodiversity. The use of sustainable farming practices (e.g. improving soil health, water management, avoidance of chemical substances) helps preserving the terroir's character. Apart from that, local grapes are better adapted to the Cretan conditions and are thereby able to renew nature's potential for increased productivity.
Tourism is the biggest industry on Crete. The emphasis on the quality and tradition of Cretan wines as well as the establishment of a recognised branding for sustainably grown wines will attract tourists from all over the world. A synergy between farming and tourism could be the starting point for many promising processes in local economy. The project therefore aims at securing long-term cooperation between local winegrowers and tourism companies from the whole island. It can serve as an inspiration and motivation for future cooperation between these two branches and, thus, strengthens local economy and local producers.
In a first step, winegrowers will learn the advantages of sustainable winegrowing through increased sensitization and specific training programs, also including knowledge about the importance of local grapes as a genetic bank to preserve the specific characteristics of Cretan wines. The cooperation of local winegrowers with tourism companies will be promoted by the development of communication material and network for visitor's awareness. Information material will be issued and a living exhibition of local grape varieties will be staged at one of the wineries. Furthermore, the development of interactive information events in Cretan hotels as well as excursion offers to sustainable wineries are planned.

Project goals:

The project aims at

  • linking sustainable winegrowing on Crete with local tourism industry
  • motivating local producers to preserve and expand the antique tradition of winegrowing
  • supporting preservation of biodiversity on Crete by retaining seven native grape varieties
  • supporting Crete to develop as a sustainable winegrowing region and sustainable destination in the Mediterranean Sea
    • by improving the availability of the Cretan native wines
    • by establishing a recognised wine brand and
    • by promoting closer collaboration between winegrowers and the tourism industry.

News about this project


Sustainable Winegrowing: Nikos and the Horsetail

Nikos has been a neighbor with the Horsetail for years, but he did not appreciate Horsetail at all. “I know this plant… it is a permanent resident around my vineyards. It can become a disturbing weed if I do not rotate the soil in proper time”, Nikos murmured once he saw horsetail on the screen...

Großes Interesse an Futouris-Workshop auf Kreta: Nachhaltigen Weinanbau und Tourismus verbinden

Am 21. und 22. Mai 2016 kamen Repräsentanten aller Projektpartner zum ersten „Sustainable Winegrowing“ - Workshop zusammen. Unser Projektteam stellte erste Ergebnisse vor und alle Teilnehmer diskutierten Möglichkeiten, um nachhaltigen Weinbau mit dem Tourismus zu verknüpfen.

Nachhaltiger Weinanbau und Tourismus

Das aktuelle Futouris-Projekt der TUI Österreich will nachhaltigen Weinanbau auf der Insel Kreta fördern und die Produzenten mit der Tourismuswirtschaft der Insel vernetzen.

1st Workshop on Connecting Sustainable winegrowing with Hospitality Services

On May 21 and 22, the 1st Workshop on Connecting Sustainable winegrowing with Hospitality Services takes place on Crete. Representatives from all partners of this Futouris e.V. project get together to initiate the bridging of those two important sectors of economy of the island.

Devoted protagonists for sustainable winegrowing

Most Cretan viticulture is high-altitude: up to 850 meters above sea level. That fact, combined with the adaption of indigenous varieties and some first-class limestones and marls, means that Cretan wine defeats the expectations generated by its latitude. The task of the Futouris project for the last couple of months included training the winegrowers about sustainability aspects.

Sustainable winegrowing on Crete

Winegrowers on Crete got together at the Lyrarakis winery for tasting the first wine samples of the new vintages. The event was combined with the second awareness meeting about Futouris project “CONNECTING SUSTAINABLE WINEGROWING with the HOSPITALITY SERVICES: Focusing on Cretan varieties threatened with extinction”.

Project profile

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Project location
Crete, Greece
Project start
Project duration
2 years
Project partner
Local Food Experts
Futouris contact

Swantje Lehners

Managing Director Projects & Cooperations
+ 49 (0) 40 - 809034 - 4055