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Apart from the natural beauty and the romantic atmosphere, the island of Santorini is also famous for its special wine, a strong aspect of the local gastronomy with roots even in ancient times. Next, to fava and cherry tomatoes, wine is among the most famous products. In fact, over the last years, the local wine is getting even more famous around the world and many wineries have opened to the public.
# What makes the wine of Santorini so special?
A sip of Santorini wine and you will understand why it is so special… The spicy taste, the unique flavor, the fantastic color are perfectly combined in this drink… What makes the wine of Santorini so special has to do with the soil of the island, the lack of rainfalls and the climate.
The great eruption of Thera that occurred in about 1,600 BC left behind a mixture of volcanic ash, pumice stone and pieces of solidified lava and sand. All these elements together make up to soil of the island, which has little to no organic material but is rich in essential minerals, except potassium, giving wines with a naturally low PH level and high acidity. The acidity is what gives this spicy taste to the wine of Santorini.
The lack of rainfalls, the porous soil that restrains the limited water and the night sea fog produced from the still active volcano are the few water sources for the vineyards of Santorini. The sea mist absorbed by the soil and the salty spray on the grapes add a pleasing character to the beverage. The cool, revitalizing summer winds (called meltemia) that blow over the Cyclades islands in summer help maintain the acidity of vine cultures and keep away diseases.
# Cultivation technique
Another special thing with the wine of Santorini has to do with the cultivation of the grapes. The vines are grown in the method of kouloura, which means that they are actually woven into continuous circles and form a basket to protect from the strong winds and the harsh summer sun. Due to this technique, the vines of Santorini look a lot like bushes.
The wineries have known a large development over the last couple of decades. Many wineries now open to the public to show their premises, the production line and have formed a special room for wine tasting. The main vine varieties cultivated in Santorini are Assyrtiko, Aidani, Athiri, Mavrotragano, and Nychteri, while the most famous is Vinsanto.
The most popular winery in Santorini is Santo Wines, a fantastic place with a balcony overlooking the Aegean Sea. The balcony of Santo Wines is also a very popular wedding place on the island. The wineries of Argyros Estate, Boutaris, Gaia and Canava Roussos are also popular, while a Wine Museum operates at Koutsogiannopoulos Volcan Wines.
# Wine tours
Many private or small-group wine tours are organized on the island of Santorini and provide a fantastic chance to get to know this special local gastronomic characteristic. Our Wine Adventure Bus Tour is such an interesting wine tour in Santorini that allows a visit to the cellars of the most interesting wineries of the island and tasting 12 different varieties made from indigenous grapes.
Another interesting wine tour is the Cooking Class and Wine Tasting Tour that combines a bus tour to famous wineries on the island plus cooking three signature local dishes: tomato-fritters, Greek salad the Santorini version and pork fillet in Vinsanto sauce.