The cultivation of vines for dessert fruit and wine is relatively recent, the grape first having been cultivated in the Black Sea area around 8,000 years ago. From there it spread slowly south-eastwards to Mesopotamia, Syria and Egypt, from where it travelled across the Mediterranean to Greece, on to Italy, and so on. Settlers from the mainland coast to the east came to Cyprus 4,000 years ago and, although there is no firm evidence to prove it, it is virtually certain they would have brought their wine-producing vines with them. When the Greeks settled in Cyprus around 1200 B.C., it is likely they would have found wine already here, but of a very different style to the wines they were accustomed to. Thus, it is likely that there has been a wine industry in Cyprus continuously longer than anywhere else in the world.
Facts are supported by legend and ancient history. The Song of Solomon praises Cyprus wines. In 800 B.C., Hesiodos described the making of Cyprus wines. The Greek poet Euripides writes of vast pilgrimages to Cyprus to taste the wine, or as it was then known "Cyprus Nama". Legend has it that the first mortal to be taught to make wine was Ikarios, whose teacher was Dionysos, the god of wine himself. The scene is, in fact, depicted in a mosaic in the House of Dionysos in Pafos where other wine related scenes are also shown. Further archaeological evidence of viticulture and winemaking can be seen in museums and around the island.