Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Cyprus – Joint Issue
The Cypriot and Romanian Postal Services issued a common commemorative series of postage stamps with a common theme "Viticulture". For the uninitiated Viticulture is the study of the science of growing grapes, with the ones used to produce wine being the primary focus. It includes the study of vine selection, irrigation styles, planting techniques, pest and disease management, optimal harvesting and more. Anything that can possibly happen to the grape before the wine making process begins is included in viticulture. Every aspect of growing grapes has a large impact on the quality of the finished wine. People who are involved with viticulture are called viticulturalists, and usually work closely with vineyards and grape growers to ensure the finest grapes, which will in turn create the best possible finished wine. Merja sent me this miniature sheet.
The vine has been known since ancient times. According to ancient Greek mythology, Ambelos was God Dionysus' beloved friend. When Ambelos died, Dionysus asked Zeus to transform him into a beautiful vineyard with sweet fruit, the grapes. Viticulture has flourished in the Mediterranean basin since the dawn of historical times, because in Mediterranean countries, the climate and the soil both provide ideal conditions for vineyards to thrive. In Cyprus, the earliest evidence of the existence of wild grapes came to light during the archaeological excavations at the Neolithic site of Vrisi - Ayios Epiktitos, which dates back to 4500-3900 B.C. According to other archaeological finds, the cultivation of grapevines started during the early 2nd millennium B.C. and viticulture as well as wine making have been the main activities of the Cypriots since immemorial times. The importance of viticulture does not merely lie in the production of the raw material, which is necessary for wine making. Viticulture allows the development of mainly barren, rocky, sloping lands in mountainous and semi-mountainous areas, thus contributing to the conservation of the landscape, preventing soil erosion, guaranteeing at the same time human presence in disadvantages rural areas. In Cyprus, each area cultivates specific types of grapes (mavro, xynisteri, malaga, maratheftiko, etc.) from which local wines are produced. There are also wines produced from particular grape mixtures or wines made from new imported varieties of grapes. Sorry guys no more; I am rushing off to get myself a new bottle of the finest …………