IT'S ALL ABOUT
It is no exaggeration to say that in Santorini there is the most distinguishing terroir of Greece which has been acclaimed worldwide by wine experts. The combination of the major components of the French term "terroir" – the soil, the topography, the geomorphology, the climate – led to a rare natural environment for the vineyard which is reflected in the wines produced.
The vineyard of Santorini is 3.500 years old and thus it’s considered to be one of the oldest vineyards of the planet. Moreover, it’s self-rooted that means that it has never been affected by the phylloxera, the insect which had destroyed the European vine roots in the late 19th century. It is a historically modern vineyard which should be included on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.
The soil is of volcanic origin, porous, extremely poor in organic matters and full of minerals. Strong winds, lack of rainfall and high temperatures during summer make the life of vines difficult on the island. In fact, the vines struggle to survive. Therefore, the yield of the vineyard here is the lowest in Greece.
The vines absorb the water they need from the precious sea mist during spring and summer months, while they are trained in a basket shape with the aim to protect the grapes from the winds and the intense sunlight. This is an ancient pruning system that the locals call "kouloura" or "ambelia".
There are more than 50 indigenous grapes on the island, but the white Assyrtiko dominates, accounting for about 80% of the vineyard. Assyrtiko is Santorini’s greatest treasure producing crispy, well-structured wines with intense minerality. In fact, this noble grape produces the most age worthy white wines of Greece.
Assyrtiko along with Aidani and Athiri grapes participate in the Santorini P.D.O. (Protected Designation of Origin) dry wines. The sweet version of these grapes is the Vinsanto, produced from sun-dried grapes, which has also gained the Santorini P.D.O. status.