The Holy Monastery of Toplou Sitia was founded in the 14th century. A.D. and is located at the eastern tip of Crete. One of the main occupations of the Monks is the cultivation of vines and the production of famous wines, without the use of pesticides. Today, continuing the monastic experience and tradition of centuries, indigenous and international varieties of organic vineyards are cultivated in 350 acres. With special care they are vinified in modern facilities with high know-how and love and offer us the high quality TOPLOU organic wines.
It is a modernized winery, established in the prefecture of Lassithi, with great winegrowing and winemaking experience. Located 10 minutes drive west of Sitia town and also 10 minutes drive south of the ancient city of ‘Itanos’ or ‘Ermoupoli’ and the palm forest of ‘Vai’.
The monastery has always been making wine for the needs of the church for social and religious purposes, and the poor dry and windy areas around the monastery are ideal for grapevine growing. As a result, the abbot Filotheos Spanoudakis restored and put into value the old vines of the monastery in the nineties.
The philosophy of the vines management is always respecting the environment and aims into the production of pure, healthy products. On this philosophy the whole production process is based, up to the merest detail: The land and its preparation, the choice of the plots that were planted, the organic farming that is controlled and certified by well-known certification schemes, the choice of the varieties that was done based on the specific characteristics of each area, the microclimate, the soil and its humidity for each grapevine separately – everything was carefully studied.
On the years that the grapes are of exceptional quality, we can produce sweet wine. The grapes are layed down under the sun, so that most of the water of the berry is evaporated and thus the concentration of every constituent of the berry is concentrated. The grapes are then taken to the monastery to be fermented. The yeast do not manage to ferment all the sugars because of the big amounts of alcohol produced and consequently the wine remains sweet.
The wines of the monastery are already popular, but we are always making an effort to improve the quality. By reducing the yields of the vines and constantly improving the techniques of winemaking, we try for even more fine wines for the most demanding wine tasters!