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Santorini wines are a perfect accompaniment to any Mediterranean meal. Santorini, the ancient Greek island, is home to some of the finest vineyards in the world and produces a unique range of wines. The volcanic soil gives Santorini’s grapes a distinctive flavor and aroma, making them stand out from other wines worldwide. Santorini’s white wines are particularly well-known for their bright acidity, while its reds have notes of raspberry and blackberry.
Santorini wines are enjoyed worldwide by connoisseurs and novices alike, who come together to share in this special experience. They have pioneered new winemaking techniques that allow them to produce various wines to please every palate. From Santorini’s signature white, Assyrtiko, to its full-bodied reds, Santorini has something for everyone.
Let’s check out some more interesting facts about our favorite wines!
Some history regarding the wine in Santorini
According to excavations at Akrotiri, wine manufacturing and commerce were among the most significant occupations for ancient people. Several volcanic eruptions throughout the ages covered the limestone and slate subsoil with successive layers of volcanic materials, including ash, lava, and pumice, producing what the local’s term “aspa,” or hard, solid earth.
Grape growers have erected terraces out of petrified lava stones throughout the years to keep the soil from being eroded by the high winds and to help retain what little rain falls.
The vines are exceptionally healthy here because of geographical factors: The scorching sun and strong winds dry off any wetness on the fruit and avoid infections and other issues like mildew and botrytis.
The most famous types of Santorini wines
Santorini is known for producing some of the finest wines in Greece, and its unique volcanic soil and climate make the wines of Santorini truly special.
Since ancient times, wine has been produced on the island of Santorini. During the influence of Venice in the Middle Ages, Santorini wines became world-famous. Since then, the most renowned wine has been Vinsanto, the wine of the monarchs in the Middle Ages and prepared from sun-dried grapes. Santorini’s wine grape varietals include Athiri, Aidani, Assyrtiko, and Mandelaria.
Assyrtiko: the most famous and widely planted wine variety in Santorini
Assyrtiko is considered the most famous and widely planted variety on the island. It is known for its high acidity, minerality, and citrus flavors, with some notes of smoke and salinity. Assyrtiko wines are typically dry, full-bodied, and have a high alcohol content. These wines can age very well, with some bottles being able to last up to 15 years.
Athiri: a lesser-known variety with a fruity and aromatic flavor
Athiri is a lesser-known variety on the island with a fruity and aromatic flavor. It is often blended with Assyrtiko to add complexity and balance to the wine. Athiri wines are typically lighter in body and have a lower alcohol content compared to Assyrtiko. They are known for their peach, apricot, and floral aromas.
Aidani: a rare variety with a floral aroma and a light body
Aidani is a rare variety with a floral aroma and a light body. It is often blended with Assyrtiko and Athiri to create a more complex wine. Aidani wines are characterized by their citrus and tropical fruit flavors, as well as their high acidity. They are best consumed young and served chilled.
Other lesser-known Santorini wine varieties
Santorini also produces other lesser-known varieties of wine, including Mavrotragano, Voudomato, and Gaidouria.
- Mavrotragano is a red grape variety that produces full-bodied, tannic wines with aromas of dark fruits and spices.
- Voudomato is another red grape variety that produces lighter-bodied, fruity wines with notes of cherry and strawberry.
- Gaidouria is a white grape variety that produces wines with a floral aroma and a medium body.
While these varieties are not as widely known as Assyrtiko, they are still an important part of the Santorini wine landscape. Each of these varieties adds its own unique flavor and character to the wines of Santorini, making them a must-try for any wine lover.
Best wineries to visit in Santorini
Santorini has numerous wineries, each with unique character and charm. One of the most famous wineries in Santorini to visit is Santo Wines. It is the largest winery on the island and offers a stunning view of the caldera from its terrace. Visitors can indulge in a wide selection of wines and experience the winemaking process through a guided tour.
Over the previous several decades, the wineries have seen significant growth. Many wineries are now available to the public to display their facilities, the production line, and a dedicated wine-tasting area. The primary vine kinds in Santorini are Assyrtiko, Aidani, Athiri, Mavrotragano, and Nychteri, with Vinsanto being the most well-known.
Santo Wines, a magnificent setting with a balcony overlooking the Aegean Sea, is the most popular winery in Santorini. Santo Wines’ balcony is also a favorite wedding location on the island. The wineries of Boutaris, Gaia, and Canava Roussos are very popular, and Koutsogiannopoulos Volcan Wines has a Wine Museum.
Another winery worth visiting is the Gavalas Winery, a family-owned establishment producing wine for over 150 years. The winery uses traditional winemaking techniques, and visitors can enjoy a personalized tour that offers insights into the history and culture of winemaking on the island.
For those looking for an incredible panoramic view, Venetsanos Winery is a must-visit. This historic winery is located on the edge of the cliff and offers breathtaking views of the caldera. Visitors can sample a range of wines while admiring the view or opt for a guided tour to learn more about the winemaking process.
Other wineries worth exploring include Argyros Estate winery, a family-owned winery that has been producing wine for generations, and Sigalas Winery, known for its high-quality wines and beautiful vineyard. No matter which winery you choose to visit, you can be sure to have an unforgettable experience tasting some of the best wines Santorini has to offer.
Rent a car in Santorini and visit all Santorini wineries
Santorini wine tours
The best Santorini experience is a small group wine tour on the island!
If you go wine tasting in Santorini, ask many questions, drink a range of wines, and munch on the meals they proudly provide. Oh, and if you’re traveling with a baby or toddler, as we often do, don’t be afraid to bring them along. Greeks like children, and the vineyard personnel will greet you as if you were a member of their own family!
Food pairings with Santorini wines
Santorini wines pair exceptionally well with the island’s local cuisine. The most popular and widely planted variety, Assyrtiko, pairs perfectly with seafood, grilled fish, and other light dishes. The wine’s high acidity cuts through the richness of the dishes, while its minerality enhances the flavors of the seafood.
Other Santorini wine varieties, such as Athiri and Aidani, are also great with seafood and salads, chicken, and light pasta dishes. The wines’ fruity and floral notes complement the dishes’ fresh and light flavors.
When in Santorini, be sure to try local delicacies with your wine. Tomato fritters, made with the island’s delicious cherry tomatoes, are a perfect pairing with Assyrtiko. The fava dip, made from the island’s famous Santorini fava, is also an excellent match for the wines’ acidity and minerality. Fresh seafood, such as grilled octopus or calamari, is a must-try with any Santorini wine, as the wine’s high acidity and minerality balance the dish’s richness and enhance its flavors.
Santorini Wines in a nutshell
So the next time you’re looking for a special occasion wine, don’t forget Santorini!
It will surely make your evening unforgettable with its delicious and unique selection. This island doesn’t offer only the best views in the entire world but also one of the best wineries in the world. That makes it one of the top delicious destinations in Greece and more attractive than any other island!
START BOOKING YOUR TRIP TO SANTORINI
We recommend the below options to book your hotels, flights, and activities in Santorini:
🍷 Food and wine tours in Santorini: greecefoodies.com
⛵ Sailing Tours in Santorini: getyourguide.com
✈️ Flights to Santorini: wayaway.io
** Please note that we get a small commission if you book via our referral links. We use this to invest in new foodie content and to update this website.
A team of foodies, cooks, and travelers. Alios Tours was founded out of our passion for Greek food. We share the delicious side of Greece.