If you love your wine and live in the capital, then chances are, you’ll have bumped into well-known and highly respected Sommelier Andreas Kyprianou, wine director and co-owner of the ever popular Vino Cultura Wine Bar & Cellar and Funky Vino Wine Bar.
With Andreas now gearing up for an exciting event in mid-April, he is set to represent Cyprus at the World’s Best Sommelier Competition in Mendoza, Argentina. The annual competition draws in top sommeliers from around the world, as over 55 countries compete for the most prestigious title in the wine industry.
With a love for wine since early adulthood, it was his time spent in New York as a student that really fuelled and ignited his passion. “I was fortunate enough to encounter several wine personalities during my time there, showing me how fascinating the wine world can be,” the sommelier enthuses.
“For me, wine is not just a fermented grape-juice, but it’s something that tells the story of the people who make it and where it comes from. In every glass, I see the hard work and dedication that the winemaker and the grape-grower puts in it. It’s their soul.”
Returning to Cyprus in 2005, following a few years spent as a sales manager promoting Greek wines in the States, Andreas was intent on setting up his own wine importing company and wine shop, with that vision coming to life with the establishment of Vino Cultura Wine Cellar. In 2011, Andreas transformed the wine shop into the first multi-venue wine destination in Cyprus, with a wine bar, a wine shop and educational centre under the same roof.
The wine list of Vino Cultura is the only one on the island to have received Wine Spectator’s ‘Best of Award of Excellence’, also voted ‘Best Wine List’ by the local Time Out Eating Awards. Following on from the success of Vino Cultura, Andreas opened his second wine bar, Funky Vino, last year.
My Cyprus Insider asks him ten questions about his life in Cyprus…read on!
1. Three things you most love about Cyprus…
a. The quality of life, especially if you have young children.
b. The proximity of everything, especially if you live in Nicosia.
c. The good weather.
2. Beloved spot on the island?
The Kyperounda Winery with its unparalleled views and feeling you get when exploring its vineyards at the top of Madari, 1400 meters above sea level. The place combines tradition with modern technology, and it’s the perfect example of how we should respect our past, while believing and investing in our future.
3. Favourite town?
Nicosia. As the old saying goes, ‘there’s no place like home’ and in this case it couldn’t ring any more true. For a person that grew up in the nineties, everywhere I go in Nicosia is packed with memories and this makes it really special for me.
4. Best memory?
There are so many, but some of the most vivid ones are our family excursions and barbeques up in Troodos, that my late grandfather used to organise up in the mountains, Cypriot style!
5. From sunrise to sunset, what’s your perfect weekend break in Cyprus?
The perfect weekend starts and ends with my family! Leaving Nicosia early in the morning and heading to a theme-park, continuing on towards Limassol for lunch at Fat Fish, where the kids can play on the beach, and ending up at our summer house in Agridia village in the late afternoon, in the Pitsilia area of Troodos.
Then waking up on Sunday morning and going for a day trip in Troodos, walking through a nature trail with my kids and making up all kinds of scenarios with plenty of role play…then going back to the village for a mid-day souvla and wine drinking on our patio.
6. A day at the beach or mountains?
If I had to choose one it would be the mountains because they still hold memories of old Cyprus and the more simple times in days gone by. My favourite mountain spot is my olive-grove at Agridia village, with breath-taking views where the only thing you see is pine trees, olive trees and vineyards. It’s the place where I feel as close to mother earth as possible, and believe me, when you’re a true ‘wine geek’ that’s important!
7. Favourite place to eat?
I know it might sound cliché, but of course, my favourite place to eat on the island is our wine bar, Vino Cultura. It’s my oasis, and place of inspiration. The feeling you get when you walk into that place is simply amazing, and so is the food and the wines!
8. Favourite place for a drink?
On the balcony of our small family house in the village, after midnight on a beautiful summer night. It’s the ultimate form of relaxation, as I totally clear my mind .
9. If you were to recommend a visitor tries just one local dish, what would it be?
That would probably be an aged, grilled goat/sheep halloumi. It screams ‘Cyprus’, and it’s tasty and unique. Probably one the best you can try is at a new restaurant called Dionysus Mansion in Limassol.
10. Best season in Cyprus?
That would probably be late spring, early summer. The weather is just right, the mood is amazing and you can enjoy Cyprus to the max!