Santorini is considered one of the most beautiful islands in the world, often voted as No 1 travel destination in the world! Tourists come and go! Mostly you will see couples in love, holding hands, roaming through the streets of the island and gazing at the romantic sunsets. There are some people though that are not moved by those things but instead search for something alternative, more….intoxicating. The wines of Santorini!
Santorini might not be widely known for her viticulture but slow and steadily she’s leaving her mark on the wine map with her unique, mineral white wines from the Assyrtiko variety (the so called Santorini), the intense red wines from the varieties Mandilaria and Mavrotragano and her trademark the Vinsanto, a sweet white wine from sundried grapes.
The soil is the one that will define that particular flavour in the wines of Santorini. We are talking about a volcanic soil, almost barren and dry. Few plants will sustain these harsh conditions and the vine is one of them. Something that must be taken into notice is that Santorini is one of the few areas in the whole world immune to a very dangerous threat of the vine, the illness phylloxera, a factor that adds prestige and interest to the wines of this particular island.
The wineries that the island has -17 in total- are more than enough if we take into consideration Santorini’s small size. Of those, 14 have a visiting area. In this article, I will mention my favourite wineries as I’ve had the chance to work for 3 years on this beautiful island in winetourism and I have visited all of them!
I will start with the youngest winery on the island. A modern and minimalistic venue in the village of Vourvoulos. Here an effort is made to produce a more modern version of the so called Santorini. The winemakers’ philosophy is to let the terroir speak for itself.
Worth trying: their flagship wine Santorini and their Petillant Naturel, the island’s only sparkling wine!
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A winery with a view of the caldera and the volcano. Ideal for those who want to combine winetasting with a sunset! Situated in the village of Megalochori. One of the oldest and the first industrial winery of Santorini. A part of it operates as a museum where the visitor can learn about the history of the Venetsanos family.
Worth trying: the Nychteri (white wine from the Assyrtiko variety that has been aged in barrel for a period of time) and their rosé, called Anagallis.
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A traditional, family winery that counts its 5th generation οf winemakers. Small and cozy venue nested inside the village of Megalochori. The family here wants to highlight a more traditional side of Santorini’s wines and is the only winery on the island that takes advantage of the rare white varieties Katsano and Gaidouria.
Worth trying: Santorini Wild Ferment and their rosé from the variety Voudomato.
A winery carved inside the mountain in the village of Pyrgos Kallistis. The wines produces here come from organic vineyards only. The goal of this winery is to promote the vineyard of Santorini that still holds many secrets as they said. After the early loss of its owner in 2017, the winery now runs in the hands of his wife and children.
Worth trying: Santorini Cuvee No15 and their sweet Vinsanto.
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It’s the oldest winery on the island, founded in 1836! A family atmosphere here also with a venue that reminds of a blooming garden. This particular winery is one of the very few if not the only one that supports the ageing of their wines and maintaining the tradition regarding the winemaking and the flavour of their wines.
Worth trying: the Nychteri and their sweet red from the Mavrathiro variety.
That was only a small taste as how someone can spend their holidays in Santorini in a more alternative way, exploring the wineries and seeing another side that this beautiful island has to offer. I urge you to visit as many wineries as you can each having its own beauty. And keep in mind that Santorini…is not only about sunsets!