With approximately 1.400 km² the biggest island of the Dodecanese group and fourth biggest of Greece in the Aegean Sea. It is also called the "pearl of the Mediterranean". The capital with three ports is also called Rhodes, the second most important city is Lindos. The island is located between the three continents of Europe, Asia and Africa and was therefore of great importance for trade even in ancient times. Probably the Phoenicians brought viticulture to the island even before the Greeks. After Homer (8th century BC) Rhodes took part in the Trojan War with nine ships. In 408 B.C. the three largest cities of Rhodes allied and founded a new city on the site of the present city of Rhodes. Famous were the schools of philosophers, philologists and orators and the city was a centre of shipping, trade and (also wine) culture. In the 7th century B.C. the island developed into an important wine exporter to the ancient world.
The unsuccessful siege of Rhodes by Demetrios from 305 to 304 B.C. is one of the most famous wars in ancient history. The Rhodians sold the siege machines they had left behind for the huge sum of 300 talents and used them to erect the statue of the sun god Helios, one of the seven wonders of the world. The sculptor Charis from Lindos produced the bronze figure of the "Colossus of Rhodes" with a height of 31 metres in 12 years of work around 280 BC. It is said to have stood in the entrance of the port of Mandraki; the ships passed through its legs (today it is considered certain that the colossus must have stood on the mainland). The figure was completely destroyed after only 66 years by a large earthquake in 226 BC.
Due to its mild climate (there are only spring and summer) and 300 days of sunshine per year, Rhodes is ideal for viticulture. During the winter months there is a lot of rain and the summer also offers cool winds from the north. The vineyards cover about 1,200 hectares. Phylloxera also arrived on the island, but the special composition of the soil prevented it from spreading. Especially on the slopes of Mount Atavyros, there are still numerous vines that are true to their roots and very old. The picture shows a vineyard in the traditional form of soil cultivation, which is very similar to the Kouloura on the island of Santorini.
There are three appellations classified as POP (formerly OPAP and OPE). Predominantly in the south, the red wine Rodos Red is made from thevariety Amorgiano(Mandilaria) and predominantly in the north the white wine Rodos White is also made from the variety Athiri Aspro. Both are available in dry, semi-dry and sweet flavours. The sweet dessert wine Muscat of Rodos is produced from the variety Moscato Aspro(Muscat Blanc). It is produced as Vin doux naturel (sprayed) and as Vin naturellement doux. If the grapes come from particularly old vineyards with low yields, the designation Vin Doux Grand Cru may be used on the label. A large part of the grapes are bought and vinified by the large CAÏR cooperative. This cooperative also produces a bottle-fermented sparkling wine from Athiri Aspro(PGE = country wine). Other major producers are Emery Wines and Tsantali.