Freelancer and consultant sommelier Sotiris Neophytidis is Star Wine List's new ambassador in Cyprus. He says that the wine scene on the island is mainly focused on classic wine countries, with a growing number of high-quality Cypriot wines on the lists.
"The main wine trends that slowly start to gain some space on the wine lists on the island are skin contact white wines and high-altitude, lower alcohol wines," he says.
Sotiris Neophytidis is based in Limassol, and he started his career in the business as a waiter. In 2015 he switched his focus to wine. He has degrees from the University of Nicosia and Cyprus University of Technology in Hospitality Management. He is also an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers.
"And, in 2016, the Best Young Sommelier Competition was held in Cyprus, and I decided to give it a shot. I ended up winning the competition, which made me understand that I really wanted to be part of the wine industry," says Sotiris.
The wine scene in Cyprus is focused mainly on classic wine countries like France, Italy and Greece
What is the situation on the wine scene in Cyprus right now, after the pandemic?
"Now, after the pandemic, hotels, restaurants and wine bars are trying to minimize their costs by better control of their stock and purchases. I see now that wine lists that had an exaggerating number of wines by the glass or labels when they started tend to go for a little bit less number of wines."
How would you describe the wine scene in Cyprus in general?
"The wine scene in Cyprus is focused mainly on classic wine countries like France, Italy and Greece, with most wine places going the same direction – with a few exceptions where venues try to focus more on smaller producers and new trends. As the winemakers in Cyprus have been raising the standards the last eight years or so, a lot of Cypriot wine is also consumed."
Any specific trends when it comes to wine in Cyprus at the moment?
"The main wine trends that slowly start to gain some space on the wine lists on the island are skin contact white wines and high-altitude, lower alcohol wines."
What do you want to see more of on the wine scene in Cyprus?
"I would like to see more wine lists with smaller producers from all around the world and more reasonable pricing in general."
What is a great wine list, in your opinion?
A great wine list, in my opinion, should not have any boundaries in terms of countries or styles, but rather an imagination and innovation, of course with a financial sense. It should consist of the classic wine regions like Burgundy or Bordeaux, but as well of lesser-known regions and smaller producers where the guests can explore and the sommeliers can tell the story behind each label and producer."
Check out Sotiris' selection through the links below.