It has been nearly six years since the wine producers of the island first started to operate collectively with the aim of elevating this important agricultural product to its rightful position. Starting in November 2006 with the establishment of the Iraklio Prefecture Winemakers Network, and followed two years later by the establishment of the Hania and Rethymno Prefectures Winemakers Network, thirty wineries covering more than 90% of the bottled production on the island are working together, organize common activities and manage national and EU funds, in order to promote both the product and its tourism potential. An important element in these cooperation is that the members consist of both private and cooperative wineries, small and large scale units, all operating on the same level.
In the context of this effort, we launched a project to promote Cretan wine in the markets of the USA and Canada. It is a project funded by the EU and the Greek state, giving us the opportunity to create substantial tools to support both this goal and our broader vision. Printed material, an internet portal on Cretan wine to establish direct communication with professionals, consumers and visitors, providing all the necessary information on the island’s wines but also inviting everyone to experience the beauty and the richness of this land and lastly, a film on the history and current state of Cretan wine - a film which will be screened both on the internet and in exhibitions and meetings with professionals - supporting in the most eloquent way the beauty of the viticultural and winemaking reality in Crete, are all available promotion tools of Cretan wine and Cretan entrepreneurship.
Additionally, a Smart Phone Application for Wines of Crete is already available for iPhones as well as Androids, in order to help consumers (Winery list, wine list, barcode reader…) and visitors of the island interested in wine touring (Wineries opening hours, maps, what to find near me…).
If we can be sure about one thing, it is that Cretan wine has reached a turning point. It may actually be the first time we are methodically creating tools to promote and communicate the special features of Cretan bottled wine. And it is particularly encouraging that, despite the adversities we are facing due to the uncertainty and complexity of the economic climate, this effort by Cretan wineries has held its ground, without losing any of its momentum. This is largely due to the fact that the methodical and collective work we have put in over the last years has quickly started to pay off and it forms the best foundation for further efforts and development.