With its volcanic soils and long hot summers, Santorini produces some of the best wines in the Mediterranean, with several boutique wineries worth visiting for more than just its delicious drop.
Greek wine doesn’t have the most robust reputation when pitted against Italy or France. Yet Santorini grows its own wines that are world class. With a tangy mineral taste from its nutrient-rich volcanic soil and its sun-kissed climate, Santorini is known for its Assyrtiko grape that creates a distinctive dry white wine. While for red wine enthusiasts, the full-bodied reds made from Mavrotragano and Mantilaria and the sweet wine, Vinsanto, are also a must try.
Paris Sigalas began his wine journey in 1991 to produce the first vintage labelled Protected Designation of Origin of Santorini. Wine marking is in his blood – his estate was handed down from his wine-making grandfather, including techniques taught through the generations. Take a tour of Sigalas Winery, where you’ll visit the vineyards to see the ancient koulara, where vines are woven into basket-like twists. Then taste their speciality – Assyrtiko grape – that makes a crisp dry white, and sample the wines, including reds during a food pairing with a private sommelier. A-la-carte tasting packages can also be curated by the resident Chef.
Wine tasting with a dramatic view! Santo Wines is a cliff-top bar and wine shop in the village of Pyrgos serving wines by the glass. Or try one of their flights that come in six 60-ml samples. From sparkling wine to rosé, several crisp Assyrtiko whites and gorgeous dry reds. If you are a sweet wine fan, Kratiras, a sweet red wine made from sun-dried grapes, is a savvy way to finish. Take a guided tour of the cellars before a wine tasting. Or wine pair with local dishes from a Mediterranean menu of seafood and salads. All best enjoyed on their open deck for a spectacular view of Santorini.
Estate Argyros is the largest private vineyard in Santorini that boast centuries-old vines, striking architecture and boutique tasting events. The Argyros family have been winemakers for over four generations and continue traditional production mixed with cutting-edge technology to make their Estate wines that use three indigenous grapes – Assyrtiko, Aidani and Mavrotragan. Take a tour that visits the vineyards and the production rooms of the winery before a tasting – that includes sweet wine Vinsanto – in their airy wine hall, along with artisanal cheeses and cold cuts.
Another celebrated family-run winery, Gavalas is one of the oldest in Santorini by the village of Megalochori. Five generations of winemakers have continued to focus on small-batch production of the vibrant Assyrtiko grape and Aidani, Mandilaria and Mavrotragano. They are the only winery in Santorini that produces the rare indigenous grapes of Katsano and Voudomato to make ten labels that showcases Santorini’s complex terroir. And are all available for tasting. Take to the courtyard or the roof garden, where a Gavalas sommelier will take you to step by step from production to glass at your table. You’ll learn about the history, tradition and latest developments of winemaking in Santorini.
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