Up until 2004 all Cyprus wines were basically considered as table wines. Accession to the European Union, however, has necessitated new legislation that would classify the wines produced on the island. Four viticultural regions have been identified which are designated to produce Wines of Controlled Appellation of Origin. The four regions are:
1. Akamas Laona
This region lies near the north-west coast of Cyprus and comprises the six village communities of Drousia, Inia, Kathikas, Kritou Terra, Pano Arodes and Kato Arodes which are allowed to produce both red and white wines. In the case of red wines at least 85% of the blend should be derived from one of the two local varieties of Maratheftiko and Ofthalmo and for white wines 85% of the blend should come from the local variety Xynisteri.
2. Vouni Panayias – Ambelitis
This region is in the western part of the island at an altitude of over 800 metres and comprises the villages of Ambelitis, Galataria, Kilinia and Panayia. Both white and red wines may be produced. White wines must use Xynisteri as the basic constituent (at least 85%). Red wines may be produced in two ways: The basic constituent must be either one of the two indigenous varieties of Maratheftiko or Ofthalmo to a level of at least 85%, or the local Mavro variety (at least 60%) supplemented by over 30% of one of specified foreign varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot etc.).
This region comprises no less than 32 villages all situated on the slopes of Madari, Papoutsa and Maheras mountains. For the production of white wines, Xynisteri must constitute at least 85% of the blend and for red wines either Maratheftiko or Ofthalmo must constitute at least 85% of the blend, or the blend may be made up of 60% Mavro and 30% of one of the specified foreign varieties.
4. The Wine Villages of Limassol
On the southern slopes of the Troodos mountains lie 20 villages known as the Wine Villages which constitute the fourth region of Appellation of Origin. Prominent in the Wine Villages region are two subregions - Afames and Laona. The production of both white and red wine in the Wine Villages region is based on the same grape varieties as in the Pitsilia region.
Regional Wines (Vin de Pays)
Table wines may also have a regional designation if they originate in one of the four districts; Nicosia, Limassol, Paphos or Larnaca. Essentially these categories correspond to the French "Vin de Pays" wines.