A wine town in the mountains of Rhodes, Greece probably does not come to mind when thinking of this beachey destination just of the coast of Turkey. However, there is such a town, named Embonas, in the mountains about an hour outside Rhodes Town. Embonas is famous for its wine and grilled meats! Its also a small town and an easy way to spend a morning or afternoon on Rhodes. We planned a morning wine tasting in Embonas on our recent trip to Greece!
As Embonas is located about an hour from Rhodes Town, on some very twisty roads, we hired a driver to drive us around and stop at wineries that the driver had picked out and reserved in advance. This was super helpful, because we would not have known where to start. Information online is…sparse at best. We left Rhodes Town around 9:30, stopping for some fantastic coastal pictures en route, and ended up at our first winery about 30 minutes later (outside of Embonas).
Our first stop was at a family-owned and run winery called Estate Anastasia Triantafillou. The mother and son duo were working hard, but the son stopped to give us a 5 minute tour and start our tasting. As with many wineries in Embonas, the tasting was complimentary and basically goes through each of the winery’s wines. Of course, you can only taste reds or whites or ones that interest you, but we tried it all. LOL. The wine at Estate Anastasia Triantafillou was very good, and I really liked the labels. We left with a few bottles.
After the wine, we also tasted a bit of Tsipouro, which is a very strong liquor local to the area. We also purchased a couple bottles of this to bring. If you do visit Estate Anastasia Triantafillou, there is plenty of parking on site, but know that the wine flows so be careful. Estate Anastasia Triantafillou also has a few tourist trinkets for sale that are not necessarily wine-related.
We were next supposed to stop at a different winery closer to Embonas but, although workers were present and alive, those workers advised that the winery was “closed.” Sad day! Accordingly, we proceeded directly to the next stop, which could be the very well be the most well-known of winery in Embonas, Kounaki Wines!
Open since 1928, Kounaki describes itself as a “traditional” winery and its name is all over Embonas. I don’t know what “traditional” really means, but Kounaki seems like a hometown operation with lots of family members working in the winery. Kounaki produces about 10 types of wine, both Greek varietals and European, with distribution almost exclusively on Rhodes. We did not tour the actual vineyards of Kounaki, instead its outdoor tasting room, complete with all types of wine themed things and some neighboring chickens!
On offer were no less than 10 types of wine, and we would taste the entire line up. And yes, this was a lot. The wines were surprisingly good and I really loved some of the art work on the bottles – which was done by another family member! We brought a few bottles to bring home. Credit cards accepted. If you are visiting one winery in Embonas, I would suggest this one. It is very well-oiled and tourist-friendly.
After visiting Kounaki Wines, we stopped by what is not a real winery, but an open air wine shop in the middle of Embonas called Dionisos. Dionisos sells, and offers for tastings, wines from all of Embonas’ wineries, including the closed Alexandris. Like the other area wineries, Dionisos lets guests taste whatever they want – we went reds – and offers a little cheese and olive oil tasting. Dionisos’ Rosemary olive oil was out of this world amazing. I purchased multiple bottles to bring home, including some of the time 1 euro ones! Dionisos is a good place to stop if you are short on time are aren’t into visit a proper winery.
Our final destination was lunch at a large outdoor restaurant that seems like it would be popular with tourist buses. Despite the touristy vibe, Taverna Manolis Bakis’ food was actually quite good and very reasonably priced. We both ordered the 15 euro “Chef Recomands,” which included a Greek salad, tzatziki, two delicious meatballs, a souvlaki platter with fries and rice, 2 glasses of local wine, bread, and fruit for dessert. Honestly, a steal! That being said, guests can also order a la carte. The salad and meatballs were particularly fantastic. You can also find Embonas’ famous meats at Taverna Manolis Bakis. Well worth a stop if you are looking for a fast lunch. Below are a few pictures of our food, apparently I failed to take some dishes.
After lunch, we drove back to Rhodes Town and had the afternoon to explore (er, nap!). All in all, this is a good half-day trip from Rhodes town. We enjoyed the wineries and were still back with plenty of time to explore the town. I will leave you with a few tips for visiting Embonas:
- Be careful with the driving. Wine tastings are generous.
- Parking was not an issue at the wineries, Embonas town could be tight.
- There was no pressure to buy wine, but we did buy from each place. Credit cards were accepted.
- Embonas is a cute little town and you could spend some time wandering around.
- If you are wanting to tour and taste, I would call and confirm hours before driving out to Embonas. These wineries are tiny and may close for the day/afternoon without notice.
STEAL OUR TRIP
Rhodes Private Tours: This is the company we used for our tour. The car was nice and our driver spoke English. He also stopped at an ATM at our request. I understand this can also be done as a cruise ship shore excursion.
Estate Anastasia Triantafillou: Epar.Od. Kalamonas-Psinthou 6, Paradisi 851 06, Greece. Open 10:00 – 15:00. Plenty of parking on site.
Alexandris: This was the winery that was closed. We tasted their wine at Dionisos. Parking on site. This winery has a nice vineyard to walk through.
Dionisos Traditional Products: Epar.Od. Kalavardas-Empona, Emponas 851 08, Greece. Literally in the middle of town. An open air stand on the side of the road. Dionisos has an online listing of products with prices if you want to get an idea of pricing.
Kounaki Wines: Winery right in Embonas town. Books can be made online for 5 euro/adult. Since we visited on a wine tour, we did not deal with the bookings.
Taverna Manolis Bakis: Located right in the heard of Embonas, a very short walk from Dionisos. Reservations probably not necessary, especially for lunch. No website. Food was surprisingly tasty.