Visitors to the Monemvasia region will find plenty of products to choose from to take home for themselves and as gifts for their friends. Products that have evolved over thousands of years are on offer in local stores and from the producers themselves.

The top two on the list are definitely olive oil and wine, both of excellent quality. Other delicious local specialities include honey, various drinks, cheese and of course a wide range of sweets for which Monemvasia is famous.

Other products that have become identified with the region are the famous onions of Vatika (known as Vatikiotika) and seafood. Meanwhile, an increasing number of farmers in the region now grow their products organically.

Malvasia Wine

No other wine was as famous during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance than Malvasia, whose history is perhaps the most interesting of all wines.

Malvasie was the name given by the Franks to the Byzantine town of Monemvasia  and to its wine.

The vines were situated in the “land of the Dorians”, in the region of Epidaurus Limera, which was an ideal environment for the cultivation of vines.

The gentle coastal climate combined with the right kind of soil to create the perfect conditions for the unique qualities of this valued wine which local merchants shipped out of the port of Monemvasia up until the 13th century.

During the Byzantine period the economies of fortress towns such as Monemvasia were based on trade. After the 14th century these towns acquired considerable privileges and traded freely with all major commercial centres. Judging from records of commercial transactions of the time, the trade in Malvasia wine was enormous.

Monemvasiot merchants traded the local wine under the name of Monemvasio, Monemvasioti or Monemvasia, which was sold by the Venetians and Genoese under the name Malvasia.

The precedence of this wine in the markets of the East and West lasted five whole centuries, from the 13th century under the Byzantines in Monemvasia until the mid-17th century in Venetian-occupied Crete.

When the Turks captured Monemvasia the vineyards were destroyed and the wine no longer produced.  However, local grape varieties have been preserved in various places, chiefly in the mountains, up until today (these varieties include the Thrapsa, Mavraki, Asprovaria, Kitrinovaria, Kidonitsa, Petroulianos, Monemvasia and Glykrithra).

The wine that achieved world fame for 300 years from the 12th century was a national export and is still produced in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Madeira, Croatia and California, has come full circle and now once more being produced in the land that bears its name.

Local wineries were part of an Industrial Research Development Programme which, together with the Faculties of Agriculture at Athens and Thessaloniki Universities, the Vitro company and the Ntional Foundation for Agricultural Research, recorded 14 grape varieties found in the region. Some of those probably were used to produce Malvasia.

Over 12 exciting years of studying the characteristics of these local varieties, setting up experimental vineyards and holding international scientific symposia on the Monemvasio-Malvasia wine, along with experiments with the Wine Institute, resulted in a sweet white wine from sun-dried grapes and a liqueur (again from sun-dried grapes). These wines, which have been awarded Protected Designation  of Origin, were officially released on July 23, 2010, the anniversary of the liberation of Monemvasia.

Extra virgin olive oil

Olive oil is the main crop in the region covered by the Municipality of Monemvasia, and is closely linked with its history.

It is the main source of income for most farmers, with a total annual output amounting to some 8,000 tons, 99 percent of which is classified as extra virgin, the highest level of quality.

This is due to the climate, the cultivation methods used, the dozens of ultra-modern modern olive presses, but above all to the farmers’ own passion for their product.Most of the olive oil is produced in accordance with the principles of integrated management and a large number of olive groves are accredited as being organically farmed.The varieties of olives grown are mainly Koroneiki and Athinolia which product a fruity-flavoured oil; the Koroneiki has a slightly more bitter and spicy aroma than the Athinolia. A blend of the two varieties is greatly sought after on the international market due to its balanced flavour and concentration of nutritional benefits.

The olive harvest begins in the first 10 days of October around Neapoli and continues until mid-March, mainly on the plain around Molai.

The entire process from harvesting to pressing is an interesting experience for visitors. The flavour of fresh olive oil on a slice of toasted bread is a gastronomic delight.


Bottled local olive oil is available from stores selling traditional products, or can be bought directly from the producers or standardising agents.

Epidaurus Limera Farming Cooperatives Consortium, Sykia, tel: 27320-71215,

Selected Olive Oil ”OliPoint”,

Sotirali Farm, Kambos, tel: 27340-47625,

Malva Olive Oil, Aghios Nikolaos Monemvasia, tel: 27320-53046,

Renieri Olive Groves, Finiki, tel. 27320-83135,

Tzavas-Stamatakos Nikolaos Farm, tel: 27320-23163,

” Archegono ” Ladex Olive Oil, tel: 6972878007,

”Mana Gea” Olive Oil, tel: 2105615650,

Aghi Apostoli Vion Farmers’ Cooperative, Aghii Apostoli, tel: 27340-47110

Products from Olive Oil:

Malea Elea Soap, Natural soap from virgin olive oil, Neapoli,