The fertile loamy volcanic soil allows the Santorini farmers to grow luscious
vines, mainly the assyrtiko grape, which produces a delicious fresh,
dry white wine. The wines have been described by experts as citrusy, light,
high in acidity and bright minerally rich white wines. This is a perfect accompaniment
to seafood, poultry and white meat dishes and served at 50°C it is delicious.
Nykteri and Assyrtiko are both delicious wines which you'll find in all the island supermarkets. If you enjoy a dessert wine then try the velvety Vinsánto, a rich amber-coloured unfortified wine, which is a fine example. This wine is barrel-aged for a minimum of two years.
The largest wineries are Santo and Boutari, which offer wine-tasting tours and presentations.
Santo winery's position near
Pyrgos, is wonderful and their wine-tastings on the terrace are very popular
at sunset. They offer tours and wine tastings. Open from April to the end
of November,10 am to sunset.
SantoWines is the biggest wine producer of the island and receives more than 400,000 visitors yearly. They own around 4000 acres of vineyards on Santorini. The modern Santo Winery is built on five different levels, so energy is saved by using gravity. The position of the winerie terrace - on the edge of the caldera, makes it a perfect choice for weddings.
Assyrtiko vines are 80% of the total cultivated varieties and produce wines of high acidity and full body, like Nykteri and Assyrtiko. When these delicious grapes are sun-dried they produce the dessert wine Visánto. It is a wonderful sight at the end of the harvest to see the grapes laid out on land overlooking the cliffs for ripening, these produce the delicious sweet wine, Vinsanto. The grapes spend 7-10 days drying in the sun, to further concentrate their juice.
Santo wines also grow red grape varieties: Mandilaria, Voudomato and Mavrotragano, which produce red dry and sweet wines.
Boutari winery, in Megalohori, offers tours, tastings and they will also show you the vineyard where the luscious grapes that make the delicious Santorini wines grow. The vineyard is 300 years old and one of the oldest in Greece..
The stunning modern state-of-the-art hospitality centre has an interactive multi-media screening room. The winery also offers a shuttle service that includes a Winery Tour with free transportation between local hotels, so you can enjoy the wines without worrying about driving back after the tastings.
Try Boutari's Kallisti, a fine wine made from Assyrtiko vines and gently aged in French oak casks, and Boutari Santorini , made using 100% Assyrtiko grapes and vinified in stainless-steel vats.
There are smaller wineries around the island: Antoniou Winery in Megalohori, Canava Roussos near Kamari, Gaia Winemakers between Kamari and Monolithos, Gavalas Vineyard near Megalohori, Hatzidakis near Pyrgos, Sigalas near Oia and the fascinating Volcan Wine Museum on the way to Kamari (the admission fee includes tastings). Open noon to 7pm.
Wine making has been practised in Santorini for thousands of years - evidence of this has been found at the ancient site of Akrotiri with remains of burnt vines and grape decorations on the ceramics.
When you travel around the island you will spot signs to the wineroads, and if you follow these you can view the acres of vines that are grown to produce the island's wines.
The Santorini vines are cultivated close to the ground and grown in low hand-woven baskets (known locally as ampelies) to provide protection from the strong winds (known since ancient Greek times as 'the etesians') and the high temperatures. The baskets also trap moisture from the evening fog, providing micro-irrigation for the vines.
The strong island winds have the advantage of blowing away any pests and fungi. Santorini has phylloxera-free vineyards.