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Wine press & Raki distillery - Stavromenos - Rethymnon - Kreta - Griechenland


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Rakokásano
is a solid compound word.

The first part comes from 'Raki' which is the Turkish word for distilled alcohol.

The second part comes from 'Kasani' which is the Greek word for a large boiler.

Both parts together therefore stand for 'schnapps kettle' or 'alcohol cooking'.
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photo However, a genuine Cretan Rakokásano is much more than that. It is a small business plant where the wine harvest from the surroundings is being worked up.

The two most important devices are a wine press and a distillery. Along with that there are tools e.g. for filtrating the fluids.

Almost every farmer from the neighbourhood has (among others) some vine stocks, and they take the grapes here to have them pressed.
 
Nektarios Mathioudakis' Rakokásano which we present here is typically Cretan. They say that there are about 550 of these very small enterprises on the island.

The wine press is a small building from concrete, and so is the distillery with it's integrated fire pit and kettle.

Furthermore there is a table, some chairs and a charcoal grill. Knifes, forks, plastic cups and a big roll of paper towel are available as well.
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photo In ▶ Crete, the event of pressing the grapes and distilling the schnapps since time immemorial also fulfills an important social role.

Everybody brings some Souvlaki spits and lamb chops along as well as fresh white bread, and they just take a shovel of the blaze from the fire pit under the kettle and put it in the charcoal grill.

Then everybody sits down whilst the wine press and the distillery do their work.
 
In accordance with the Cretan custom, visitors are always welcome, too.

And since the nearest holiday villas and hotels are not far away, you will also meet more and more holiday makers at Nektarios' Rakokásano who bring bratwurst from the nearest LIDL market along.

The concrete building indeed has the charme of the waiting room at a railway station, but a snug atmosphere will yet come up very soon.
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photo That it because all participants must help to form an opinion on the wine and the fresh Raki.

But: A Rakokásano is not a taverna! So there is e.g. no toilet available.

You can buy wine and Raki from Nektarios' own production here, and you can watch the manufacturing process and taste the products. The charcoal grill exists only because tasting alcohol on an empty stomach is estimated to be unhealthful.
 
The grape harvest starts mid August. The wine press starts working then as well. Raki is being distilled from late August till mid November.

Purchase of wine and Raki from Nektarios' own production is however possible all-year.

The Rakokásano is by a farm track between ▶ Stavromenos and ▶ Scaleta, about midway between the ▶ Stavromenos Villas and the ▶ Gerolakos Villas.
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photo The Mathioudakis family is resident in the area of Stavromenos already for hundreds of years. Today the family is accordingly large, and there are several members who are named Nektarios.

When looking for the Rakokásano you can also ask for the 'Kissanós': Ages ago, someone from the village of Kissos (between ▶ Spili and Akoumia) married into this branch of the Mathioudakis family, and since that time they have this epithet.
 
Text by Ingo H. Dietrich
Photos by Matthias Konopka & Ingo H. Dietrich


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photo Rakokásano
Nektarios Mathioudakis
Stavromenos
GR - 74100 Rethymnon
Phone 0030 28310 71294
Mobile 0030 6976 631676

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