Sundrying grapes in Santorini wineries
Sundrying grapes in Santorini wineries

Within Santorini’s sun-kissed landscapes and volcanic terroir lies a treasury of winemaking excellence. Transcending the ordinary, the Santorini wineries blend ancient traditions with innovative techniques to produce wines that capture the essence of the Aegean.

In this blog post, we invite you to uncover the secrets of the most renowned estates on the island. Embark with us on a sensory journey and learn everything you need to know to prepare for your wine adventures!

 

The wine heritage of Santorini

Santorini boasts a rich history of winemaking, dating back over 3,500 years!

Historical evidence indicates that the Minoans were involved in viticulture on the island until the volcano eruption. The archaeological findings, including wine presses and storage jars, highlight the significance of wine production in this former flourishing society.

Over the years, this legacy was handed down through generations of vintners, making Santorini a paradise for wine enthusiasts. 

 

How have the Santorini vineyards evolved throughout the ages

The vineyards have been the island’s soul for 35 centuries. Remarkably, they endured the threat of phylloxera, a pest that nearly decimated Europe’s vineyards in the late 18th century.

What makes them truly distinctive is that they were recognized in 1971 with the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for white wines mainly made with the Assyrtiko grape variety!

 

The making of Santorini wines

The winemaking process in Santorini is a labor of love, transforming grapes into liquid poetry. 

 

Kouloura Santorini

 

  1. The vines are trained in a unique basket shape called “kouloura,” which protects the grapes from the strong winds and preserves moisture.
  2. Harvesting occurs in August under the intense Cycladic sun. Grapes are handpicked to preserve their integrity.
  3. Fermentation follows, revealing the wine’s character through a meticulous blend of tradition and technology.
  4. The wine is then aged in stainless steel or oak barrels in wine cellars, allowing it to mature and develop complexity.

There, the temperature remains stable, and the humidity ensures that the wines breathe slowly, absorbing the elements of the volcanic soil. 

This process contributes to their distinctive flavors, aka crisp, mineral-rich whites and robust reds that encapsulate the island’s terroir and traditions.

 

Grape varieties from which Santorini wines are made of

Although there are numerous indigenous grape varieties, here are the most widespread ones:

  • Assyrtiko (white)
  • Athiri (white)
  • Aidani (white)
  • Mandilaria (red)
  • Mavrotragano (red) 

Apart from the above, there are 2 more wines that stand out for their outstanding taste. The first one is Vinsanto, the famous dessert white wine with a distinct sweet flavor. The second one is Nykteri, the traditional wine stomped during the night!

 

The 10 best Santorini wineries for an authentic experience

 

Anhydrous Winery in Kontochori, Fira

 

Anhydrous winery Santorini

 

Formerly known as Avantis estate, Anhydrous Winery stands as a testament to the region’s winemaking prowess. 

Founded in 2012, it crafts a diverse selection of wines, with Assyrtiko taking center stage. From refreshing whites to strong reds, each bottle reflects the unique character of Santorini.

Upon arriving, explore the beautiful venue, which used to be an outdoor cinema. Then, visit the refined spa area, where the winemaker’s wife exhibits her beauty products made of grapes.

Finally, indulge in a memorable wine tasting, a fantastic experience you will surely relish for a lifetime!

 

Estate Argyros in Episkopi Gonias

 

Estate Argyros winery in Santorini

 

Situated amid the sun-drenched countryside, Estate Argyros is a family-owned winery that has played a pivotal role in preserving Santorini’s winemaking traditions. 

With a heritage spanning generations, the family’s commitment to quality and innovation has positioned their estate among the foremost on the island.

Regarding the produce, their portfolio encompasses whites, reds, and dessert wines, each crafted with precision to showcase the distinct characteristics of Santorini’s volcanic soils.

Be astounded by the meticulous production techniques you’ll encounter at its premises. Finish your visit with an immersive wine-tasting experience in its inviting atmosphere with a view of the vineyards, which creates the perfect backdrop for savoring exquisite wines. 

 

Gavalas Winery in Megalochori

 

Gavalas winery in Santorini

 

With roots dating back to the 19th century, this family boutique winery is one of the oldest in Santorini, blending passion with tradition and a profound connection to the island’s terroir.

Nestled in a stone building that used to be a canava winery, it features cellars, grape stomping rooms and high-end technology to ensure excellent wine quality!

Even though it is renowned for producing Assyrtiko, Aidani, Mandilaria, and Mavrotragano, it’s also the only winery that vinifies the rare varieties of Katsano and Voudomato.

Witness its charming areas and learn about its unique history with a Santorini wine tasting tour. With the captivating village of Megalochori as a backdrop, you can’t go wrong with your choice as you enjoy their handcrafted wines.

 

Hatzidakis Winery in Pyrgos Kallistis

 

Hatzidakis winery Santorini

 

Founded in 1997, Hatzidakis Winery advocates sustainable winemaking, embodying the visionary spirit of its late founder, Haridimos Hatzidakis. 

With a focus on organic farming, it takes a holistic cultivation approach to ensure the health of the vines and the purity of the grapes. 

At the core of its winemaking philosophy is the Assyrtiko grape. The winery has mastered the art of expressing the full spectrum of this variety, from bone-dry expressions to late-harvest sweet wines. Aidani and Mavrotragano are among the stars of their portfolio, too.

Feel welcomed as you wander through its minimalist, elegant premises. The tasting room, a traditional underground cave, offers a serene setting to try the diverse range of mouthwatering wines.

 

Artemis Karamolegkos in Exo Gonia

 

Artemis Karamolegkos winery in Santorini

 

Artemis Karamolegos is an award-winning family winery and the 3rd largest in Santorini in volume production.

Blending traditional winemaking practices with modern techniques, it boasts expansive vineyards spanning across different parts of the island.

The volcanic soils and age-old vine training methods contribute to the unique characteristics of their various wines, from Assyrtiko to Vinsanto and Terra Nera.

Opt for a wine tour in Santorini to take a behind-the-scenes look at the winemaking process. The modern tasting room provides an ideal ambiance to delight in a selection of wines, accompanied by panoramic views of the vineyards.

What makes it unique:

The winery goes beyond the glass, offering a delightful gastronomic experience at its restaurant, Aroma Avlis. There, you can taste distinct local dishes, which make for the perfect complement to the wines. 

 

Mikra Thira in Thirassia

 

Mikra Thira winery in Thirassia

 

Mikra Thira is the 1st winery on Thirassia island, just a short boat ride from Santorini, which opened its doors in 2023.

Although quite new to the oenological landscape, its wines have already been awarded, making it a gem worth visiting.

Showcasing traditional Cycladic architecture, it’s a treat to the senses, with its vineyards inviting you to relish the magic of the surrounding landscapes.

Let yourself in the hands of your experienced guides as you uncover the secrets of the winemaking process unfolding before your eyes!

 

Santo Wines in Pyrgos

Perched on the edge of the caldera, Santo Wines offers an immersive experience that marries breathtaking views with splendid wines.

As the sun begins its descent over the Aegean Sea, the winery becomes a haven for those seeking both a visual and gustatory feast. 

Its expansive terrace provides unobstructed panoramas, transforming the act of wine tasting into a celebration of Santorini’s terroir. 

Due to its supreme location, it’s one of the most famous wineries on the island. Thus, it’s no wonder it gets crowded, with tourists swarming to snap photos of the iconic landscape.

 

Venetsanos Winery in Megalochori, Santorini

Located right above Santorini’s main port, Venetsanos is yet another award-winning estate boasting phenomenal caldera views.

Managing 15 hectares of vineyards, mainly with the Assyrtiko variety, this family-owned winery was the first industrial one on the island.

What makes it stand out is its rich history along with its striking architectural structure. Furthermore, its 250m2 terrace is ideal for holding exclusive events with the captivating caldera as a background.

Similar to Santo Wines, it’s very touristy. So, we recommend booking your visit far in advance to ensure availability for your wine tasting.

 

Vassaltis Vineyards in Vourvoulos

Founded in 2014, Vassaltis is a boutique, high-end winery that emerges as a heaven for oenophiles.

Housed in a sleek building that complements the island’s aesthetic, it embodies a harmonious blend of modernity and tradition.

From Vinsanto to Mavrotragano, Vassaltis produces a wide variety of wines, and it’s committed to preserving the long-standing winemaking process.

Upon arriving, admire its minimalist premises and indulge in an unforgettable wine tasting paired with delicious food while being surrounded by lush vineyards.

 

Domaine Sigalas in Baxes, Oia

Located on the northern part of Santorini, Domaine Sigalas is one of the most high-end wineries on the island.

With a laid-back atmosphere, it takes pride in cultivating diverse grape varieties at its 40-hectare vineyards.

Many of its labels have also been awarded in both Greek and international competitions, making the estate renowned worldwide.

Book your visit in advance and enjoy a fascinating journey through its mouthwatering wines that emit the island’s unique volcanic character.

 

Embark through the enchanting world of the best wineries in Santorini for a memorable experience

From the charming slopes of Avantis to the historic cellars of Estate Argyros, each winery presents a unique narrative that adds to the island’s allure. 

Whether savoring the Assyrtiko or exploring the winemaking process, they promise to elevate your appreciation for the exquisite wines that make Santorini a vinicultural gem in the Aegean. 

Oh, and make sure you book your private Santorini wine tasting tour to get an insider look with the help of an experienced guide. Cheers to a delightful exploration of the wine wonders awaiting!

 

 

FAQs about Santorini wineries

What is the largest winery in Santorini?

Santo Wines is the largest winery in Santorini, with Estate Argyros being the second one.

 

What is the oldest winery in Santorini?

Built in 1836, Canava Roussos is the oldest winery in Santorini. Staying true to the island’s traditions, it uses state-of-the-art technology to produce high-quality wines from select varieties, including Assyrtiko, Aidani and Mandilaria.

 

Does Santorini have vineyards?

Santorini boasts extensive vineyards, with the island’s volcanic soil creating the ideal conditions for cultivating high-quality grapes.

 

What is the best wine made in Santorini?

Vinsanto, Assyrtiko, Aidani and Mavrotragano are considered to be Santorini’s best wines. But of course, it depends on each person’s unique tastes and preferences.

 

How many wineries are in Santorini?

There are 21 wineries operating in Santorini, which provide a glimpse into the island’s distinct winemaking process while offering wine-tasting experiences.

 

Can you visit Santorini wineries without a tour?

Of course! You’re free to roam around and marvel at the premises of the top wineries in Santorini either alone or with the guidance of an expert tour guide.

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