Oenou Yi – Ktima Vassiliades winery is here to disprove the speculation that the wine industry is ‘male-dominated’ by presenting you the three dynamic and talented women leading its wine production.

With a background in the fields of oenology, viticulture, biology and chemistry, Aikaterini-Evangelia Mylona, ​​Elena Evagorou and Angela Klokkou, together with the agronomist Alexis Aristidou, lead the wine production of Oenou Yi – Ktima Vassiliades.

‘Wine includes everything; creativity, art, science, the environment, people, physical activity, difficulties, unexpected obstacles, a relative sense of time, many intense moments, but also calmness. It is hard to describe. It’s kind of like love. In the beginning you don’t know exactly what fascinates you in this or where you are, but when you enter the game and the more you learn and work with it, it’s almost impossible to stop’, notes Aikaterini-Evangelia Mylona. With studies in the field of Chemical Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens and postgraduate studies in Oenology and Viticulture (Msc Vinifera) in France and Spain, she is Oenou Yi – Ktima Vassiliades’ ​​chief oenologist/winemaker.

‘Although there is great interest in the world of wine on the part of women, unfortunately, especially in the field of wine production, we are a minority. In Cyprus, for example, I personally know only three women, including myself, who are leading the production. Of course, Cyprus is no exception to the global rule, but that doesn’t mean that this situation shouldn’t evolve for the best. I believe that if there was greater inclusion for women in the field, and women managed to ignore the social challenge, we would see an increasing number of women handling higher positions in this sector that needs them,’ she said.

With several publications in reputable scientific journals and experience in harvests of both the Old and New World (New Zealand, America, Argentina and elsewhere), she applies the secrets of the art of oenology in the production Oenou Yi – Ktima Vassiliades’ wines. Her knowledge and cooperation with the rest of the winery team have earned the wines several distinctions and awards in both local and international competitions.

Elena Evagorou, Biologist and Laboratory Manager at Oenou Yi – Ktima Vassiliades winery, with a background in Biology and an MSc from the University of Leicester, notes on the occasion of Women’s Day: ‘Winemaking, like many other sciences, is generally a man-dominated filed. Of course, this is mainly due to the fact that it requires physical endurance, long working hours, multitasking management and machine operation that even today are considered by many as ‘male jobs’. However, I assure you that any woman who thinks she cannot work in such an environment is because she has not tried to yet. I look forward to the day when to ask if any workplace is male dominated will not cross anyone’s mind. There are many examples that confirm that women aren’t inferior to men in any profession. These stereotypes about women’s weakness are unfounded and old-fashioned and we are here to demolish them with more determination and strength.’

Having grown up in a large family, with more girls than boys, she was already in contact with the land, the soil and the earth. ‘Growing up in a family with 5 sisters and 1 brother, the women of the family helped our father in the vineyards and we visited wineries, from an early age’, she notes. For her, ‘working in the wine industry is very interesting. All stages in winemaking contain both challenge and pleasure. It is a job that involves physical and mental fatigue. However, eventually creating and tasting a really good result is the reward. Having completed the difficult task of the harvest season twice, I am now convinced that my choice to work in the wine field will not disappoint me.’

Regarding her scientific contribution to the production, she explains that ‘wine analyses are a very important and decisive job to initiate the appropriate processes in order to have the optimal product in a winery. Inoculation of the must with fungi is one of my favourite processes as it combines biology with chemistry; then I look forward to the fermentation starting.’

The team is completed by Angela Klokkou, a chemist with undergraduate and postgraduate studies (MSc) in Biochemistry from the University of Leicester. She is a chemist in Oenou Yi – Ktima Vassiliades’ laboratory, where she performs analyses at all wine stages using the latest technology equipment in the field. ‘I am honoured to work in the wine industry, as it is a global, powerful industry. Especially in Cyprus, that it is one of the most important sectors of our economy; not only for the beverage market, but also for the development and promotion of traditional Cypriot products internally and abroad.’

She believes that although the sciences, winemaking and viticulture and related industries are ‘male dominated’, there is room for change, as long as women are free to choose their career direction, regardless of social requirements.

Regarding the future of Cypriot wine, oenologist Aikaterini-Evangelia Mylona emphasises that ‘in recent years Cypriot wine has made amazing quality leaps forward. There is constant development in the vineyard and winery production alike, with significant investments in equipment and scientific staff. There is excellent progress and continuous experimentation in the ‘exploitation’ of the Cypriot terroir and the indigenous varieties in order to highlight their uniqueness locally and internationally. I like to believe that we, as Oenou Yi – Ktima Vassiliades, are making our contribution towards this direction.’

Elena Evagorou adds that ‘wine production in Cyprus is very important and has improved a lot in recent years. The Cypriot varieties produce fine wines that lack nothing compared to wines produced abroad. The domestic consumer, as well as the tourists, have begun to understand this, which is why they often choose only Cypriot products.’

All three of them, supporting Cypriot winemaking suggest their favourite Cypriot varieties: Aikaterini-Evangelia Mylona is eager for people to taste Oikade, a single-variety Giannoudi that is expected in 2021; Elena Evagorou chooses the red Geroklima, a single-variety Maratheftiko; Angela Klokkou selects Pente Litharia, an authentic single-variety Xynisteri.