A Toast to Wine: George Kassianos


Believing that “life is too short to drink bad wine,” the Cyprus Sommeliers Association president turns wine into art and life into pleasure.

Text: Romina Xyda

In the early 1980s, as a student of tourism and hospitality, George sampled two French wines: a white Chablis and a red Beaujolais Villages. From tasting the first, he was enthralled. On the second, enchantment washed over him; “From that instant, I resolved to embark on a journey through the realm of wine, a distinctive universe tailored for those who, much like myself, harbour an insatiable passion for gastronomy. Each bottle of wine became a captivating odyssey transporting me to every corner of the globe.”However, what constitutes the mission of a sommelier? “If you envision a wine steward as a well-dressed server who swirls a glass of wine, takes a sip with a thoughtful gaze, and articulates obscure descriptors of unique aromas, then you are mistaken. A true wine connoisseur possesses a profound understanding of viticulture and oenology, has mastered the art of tasting, excels in crafting wine and food pairings, delves into the intricacies of international vineyards, and remains consistently abreast of the enigmatic nuances of wine. Our work revolves around enhancing the customer’s tasting journey and promoting wine culture,” a venture that, according to George, becomes even more exhilarating due to the distinctive terroir found in Cyprus. He notes, “Cypriot wines hold a unique charm, and I take pride in the fact that they now possess their own distinct identity. Cyprus has small but high-quality vineyards. With a history spanning over 5,500 years, a temperate Mediterranean climate, and optimal conditions for viticulture, we boast numerous indigenous grape varieties that have earned global acclaim. Today, we can discuss the evolving dynamics of Xynisteri, the unparalleled qualities of Maratheftiko, and the multifaceted characters of Giannoudi, Morokanella, Promara, and Commandaria. These exceptional varieties serve as our most distinguished envoys on the international stage, and we anticipate the emergence of many more in the future.”Conceptually, George remarks of the perfect wine rendezvous, “It would be the renowned American director Francis Ford Coppola, the proprietor of extensive California vineyards producing exceptional wines. Perhaps I could entice him with an aged Maratheftiko to convince him to invest in a Cypriot vineyard.”

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