We made a spontaneous decision to visit Lyrarakis Winery for a tour and tasting during our recent holiday on Crete. We did not book ahead; since the website advertises tours throughout the day, it did not seem compulsory. We arrived about 45 minutes before the next scheduled tour (and were prepared to wait). It was a bit unclear where reception was and a tour was underway. The winery is very lightly staffed, but during a break in the tour, the guide greeted us and offered a glass of wine while we waited, which was much appreciated!
We have been on many winery tours and wine tastings and found this one to be sadly basic. It is super impersonal and not very engaging for those already knowledgable about wine. The tour was short and included only nearby grounds and a show room of wine barrels. The highlight was tasting several grape varieties directly from the vine while we were in the fields.
The wine tasting included generous pours of a number of wines (7 or so). However, we were incredibly frustrated by the experience. We chose not to have food with our wine tasting (food tastings required booking ahead, which is not clear on the website), but four others on our tour did. This made our shared tasting (we were all six at the same table) incredibly awkward. Staff timed wine delivery for all of us with their food, leaving large gaps between glasses with nothing to do but sit and watch them eat. When wine arrived, very little information was given (the guide poured, reminded us of the grape varietals and then left). The overpowering smell of their food made it difficult for us truly experience the smell and taste of the wine. The entire thing dragged on and was terribly annoying. Additionally, the tasting was conducted in a dark and dreary room. I would have much preferred enjoying the gorgeous views outside.
Public transportation from Heraklion was easy to take. There's a bus stop about a 10 minute walk from the winery and roads are well marked. We planned to return by bus, but the timing was difficult (the tour was longer than anticipated) so we took a 25 euro taxi back (to Knosso, our next stop for the day).
Overall, it was a nice afternoon of wine drinking, but a mediocre tour/tasting experience.
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