Santorini Wines: The Best Varieties and Wineries

Santorini Wines: The Best Varieties and Wineries

Written by: melina on: February 25, 2022

The Greek vineyard is special and distinctive. It has made a name for the country’s wine production since antiquity all across the world. And still, it hardly receives the attention it deserves. This vineyard has a place so unique that it is unlike any other in the world, Santorini.

Santorini is not only one of the best Greek islands for hiking and nature-gazing. It also has a long tradition in viticulture, of at least 3500 years. In combination with the composition of the soil, its unique climate gave the varieties vinified an exceptional character.

What makes the vineyard of Santorini stand out

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Wine and snacks – credits: eris.work/Shutterstock.com

The answer to why the vineyard of Santorini is among the top Greek vineyards lies behind a combination of things. The first reason that makes Santorini stand out is that the island has a very long history in viticulture. It knows how the field operates inside out. What’s more, it integrates methods and techniques passed down countless generations with modern technology.

The second is its unique terroir and a unique ecosystem characterized mainly by volcanic soils. These soils offer the best environment for unique varieties of grapes to grow. Them, in turn, deliver the Santorini wines we all know and love. The wines we fully indulge in during our Santorini honeymoon.

To add to its allure, the wines of Santorini come with a heavy dose of the island’s rich heritage, as well as its stunning landscapes. It is a fantastic holiday destination, so the presented narrative is complete.

Santorini is a blessed place. Everything that comes out of there is unique. Its fava beans, cherry tomatoes, even its cucumbers. The local products may be in very small quantities, but they all have a character that makes them stand out. Thus, the wines of Santorini are unlike any other wine in the world.

The varieties of Santorini wine that stand out

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Wine tasting – credits: il21/Shutterstock.com

Currently, there are about 30 wine varieties of wine. The main grape varieties cultivated in Santorini are Assyrtiko -which offers 80% of the production of Santorini-, Athiri and Aidani from the whites, and Mantilaria, Mavrotragano, and Voudomato from the reds. Santorini wines are characterized by intense aromas and flavors and high alcohol levels.

One cannot help but recognize that Santorini is synonymous with the Assyrtiko variety. However, there are these rare varieties that are worth trying and buying. These wines are what we call Unicorn Wines. They are rare, like unicorns, and Santorini has many.

Of all the wine varieties in Santorini, there are only three with a Designation of Origin of Superior Quality:

  • Assyrtiko is the wine that has taken the name of the variety that has grown in the volcanic climate and soil of Santorini. You can taste all the flavors and aromas of Santorini in just one sip.
  • Nychteri is an aging wine that gained its name from a local myth. According to tradition, all the work for its vinification has to take place at night. ‘Nychteri’ means ‘nocturnal.’
  • Vinsado (Vino di Santorini) is the traditional sweet wine of Santorini. It is associated with its modern history and has made it famous throughout the world. It is vinified from sun-dried grapes in the summer sun of Santorini.

We do not find rosé wines in the vineyard of Santorini. Why is this happening? Simply because Santorini doesn’t boast a vineyard made for rosé. There is a small amount of red wine as it is, so making rosé would be a reach. 

The wineries of the island

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White wine – credits: felix_w/Pixabay.com

If you visit Santorini and want to know its vineyard, you should be aware of its best wineries to visit.

The Ministry of Tourism, in an effort to make Santorini even more appealing to international tourism, gave 17 wineries the special mark of excellence. These are open to the public for tours and visits that will introduce them to Santorini wine and the local culture.

In our opinion, it is worth seeing a slightly larger winery, but also a smaller, perhaps more authentic, and traditional winery to understand the wine culture of Santorini in all its dimensions.

Venetsanou Winery

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Wine cellar – credits: Who-is-Danny/Shutterstock.com

The stunning winery of Venetsanou is a necessary stop for lovers of wine and gastronomic culture. During a tour around its premises, the experienced staff will guide you through the different stages of wine production. Additionally, they will offer you time travel, while with their passion, they will transmit their love and pride for the winery.

When your tour comes to an end, it will be time for the wine tasting to occur. Four types of wine, Santorini, Nychteri. Mandilaria and Liasstos will come to tempt your palate. The tour in total lasts about 40 minutes. 

You can relax in the cafe wine bar with a beautiful view when it is over. It is worth mentioning that Venetsanos Winery is located just above the port of Athinios, overlooks the Caldera, and is the first industrial winery that significantly reduced energy consumption due to its construction.

Vassaltis Winery

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Greek vineyard at sunset – credits: Capricorn Studio/Shutterstock.com

The newest winery of Santorini lies in the area of ​​Vourvoulos. It will attract your attention from the beginning with its appearance. The architecture of the building, and its interior, are reminiscent of a boutique shelter in the world of wine.

The minimal design and its modern perspective differentiate the winery from all the rest of the island. It initially wins over the contemporary wine lover with its looks before the labels of Vassaltis Vineyards leave them in awe.

Sigalas Winery

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Sommelier – credits: edusoft/Pixabay.com

Ktima Sigalas is located in the ancient plain of Oia and is a meeting place for wine lovers and people who want to discover the way a unique Assyrtiko is “born.” It is also perfect for those who wish to know labels that have gained international recognition and won many awards.

Behind the Sigalas Estate is a former mathematician, Paris Sigalas, who since 1991 has been evolving the wine tradition. What’s more, the creation of the winery is based on three principles: the creative relationship with the traditions of Santorini, the technical knowledge, and the quality. 

Currently, the vineyard wines travel worldwide, from Germany and France to the USA, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Boutari Winery of Santorini

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Bottles of wine – credits: gusaap/Pixabay.com

Distinguished between ‘The Ten Architectural Wonders of the Wine World’ and ‘One of the World’s Most Extravagant Wineries,’ the Boutari Winery in Santorini is one of the award-winning properties of the Boutari company. At the same time, it is the first winery on the island. It has opened its doors to the public since 1989. 

Following the company philosophy – the best possible utilization of each region that produces wines of Designation of Origin of Superior Quality – it has played a leading role in the development of viticulture on the island and the commercial development and promotion of wines of Santorini around the world.

Its facilities in Megalochori have a capacity of 1,500 tons. It is a modern winery fully equipped with the latest machinery of international wine technology. At the same time, the wines of Boutari Santorini winery focus exclusively on the indigenous varieties of the island – Assyrtiko, Aidani, Aidani Aegean, Mandilaria

During your visit to the winery, you can learn everything about the unique form of the vineyards cultivated in the island’s volcanic soil. You can also tour its premises and taste the award-winning wines of the winery. They are the result of indigenous grape varieties and the internationally famous wine of the island, Vinsanto. Don’t miss out on accompanying your wine with light dishes with recipes from the local cuisine. 

The tour also includes an audiovisual spectacle in the specially designed white dome of the winery, which depicts the history of the island and wine production from mythology to the present day! 

Do not forget to visit the winery shop where you will find the full range of Boutari Santorini wines and Boutari wines from other Greek wine production areas where the company operates.

Koutsogianopoulos Wine Museum

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Wine for two – credits: heathgerhard/Shutterstock.com

Your visit to the only cave wine museum in Greece, located 8 meters below the ground, is a must. 

In an hour or so, you will see documentary images, you will hear information in your language, and you will tour the place seeing in performances the history of Santorini wine, learning the wine culture of Greece and Santorini in particular.

After the end of the historic route, you will indulge in a wine-tasting experience of four local wines. Inside the Koutsogianopoulos Wine Museum, you can also see how different the vineyards of Santorini are. 

Hatzidaki Winery

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Enjoying wine – credits: DeepMeaning/Shutterstock.com

The Hatzidaki Winery and the vineyards are located in the classified zone of the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) of Santorini, especially in the villages of Pyrgos Kallistis, Megalochori, Emporio, and Akrotiri. 

The Hatzidaki Winery cultivates a total of 10 hectares of vineyards, at an altitude of 70 to 350 meters, with mainly southern or southeastern orientation and the white varieties of Assyrtiko, Aidani, and the red variety Mavrotraganos. Hatzidaki Winery applies organic farming in all of its vineyards.

Gaia Wines

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Red wine – credits: JillWellington/Pixabay.com

Gaia Wines winery is located on a beach, on the east side of the island, between the settlements of Kamari and Monolithos. This industrial stone building was a tomato factory built in the early 1900s. 

Gaia Wines Winery renovated this rare, charming building, giving it new life as a winery while preserving a piece of heritage by restoring this architectural paradigm. In addition, Gaia Wines’ vineyards apply organic farming.

Santo Wines Winery

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Wine and snacks – credits: Ekaterina Iatcenko/Shutterstock.com

The Santo Wines winery was built in 1992 in the village of Pyrgos, in a wonderful location on the Caldera. It is one of the most modern wineries in Greece, where technological perfection harmonizes beautifully with the uniqueness of the island of Santorini. 

Its pioneering architecture is remarkable, as it is built on different levels, just like the famous so-called “terraces” of the vineyard. The different levels developed by the farmers on the farms are applied to facilitate the cultivation of the land. 

During the wine production process, the Santo Wines winery uses the natural phenomenon of gravity which replaces the use of pumps to transport must and wine, which upgrades the quality of the wines produced.

Artemis Karamolegos Winery

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Wine varieties – credits: wines-PhotoMIX-Company/Pixabay.com

The Artemis Karamolegkos winery produces 11 different wines to emphasize the complexity and to express the true character of Santorini, their place of origin. 

The Terra Nera series is an excellent introduction to the wines of Santorini and is based on the two most popular varieties of the island (Assyrtiko, Mandilaria). 

Terra Nera White is the most excellent and most straightforward version of Assyrtiko. It comes from young vines grown at low altitudes, which have been made to produce a more “everyday” wine with minor aging and less complexity. 

A visit to the Artemis Karamolegkos winery is a complete wine experience, with the tasting area in an old cellar, a beautiful outdoor patio, and a wine retail store. 

The guests enjoy hospitality services and wine excursions with the highest standards, while the members of the specialized staff of the winery offer the guests a unique service.

Canava Santorini Distillery Museum

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Luscious Greek wine – credits: WolfBlur/Pixabay.com

The Canava Santorini Distillery Museum was founded in 1974 in Santorini by Evangelos Lygnos. Today, his son Lucas Lygnos continues to produce the fine Canava Santorini products with the same principles and local materials. 

The same recipes are inherited from generation to generation and are still used. The Canava Santorini Distillery Museum moved to its current premises in 2012. 

Even though its production line meets the highest modern technological criteria, the distillation methods remain traditional.

Argyros Estate

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Wine and snacks – credits: wine-wronski76/Pixabay.com

One of the most modern wineries in Santorini, Argyros Estate, is a sight to behold. The winery needs no special introduction to lovers of wine, as it has ranked among the 100 best wineries in the world in 2005 and 2006. 

You must try the award-winning white wines such as the wonderful Vinsanto, Assyrtiko Argyrou, and the estate Argyrou barrel during your visit there.

However, the show’s star is the handmade organic health chocolate that contains 10% Vinsanto wine and rooibos tea. The winery is located in Episkopi Gonia Thira, also known as Mesa Gonia.

After learning about the indigenous varieties and best wineries of Santorini, the next step is to visit the island yourself to explore its wine production and taste the riches of its land. Be prepared to be swept off your feet from the luscious, full-bodied Santorini wines and admire the island’s imposing volcanic landscape in high spirits during your romantic getaway or Greece honeymoon. Our Greece honeymoon packages are waiting for you to explore them!

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