The vineyard fructifying in Santorini’s arid environment is historic and one of a kind. Covering an area of about 1,400 hectares, it starts smoothly from sea level and ends in terraces on the Caldera, at an altitude of 150-250 metres. It is ancient, as are its varieties. Excavation findings in the prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri, reveal that grapes were grown on the island at least since the 17th century BC. The prehistoric vineyard was destroyed by the great volcanic eruption around 1600 BC.The new igneous soil gave birth to another vineyard, around 1200 BC. Therefore, we wouldn’t exaggerate if we said that it is more than 3,200 years old, since it has been cultivated non-stop during all this time.
The vine and wine have played a fundamental role in the island’s economic, social and financial life for centuries. Vines are self-rooting (not grafted), live more than 50 years, and grow on the porous ground, rich in pumice and porcelain. From ancient times to this day, the vineyard is being renewed in the same way, i.e. by layering. It was never infected by phylloxera (vine louse).
The vines of Santorini are real works of art, and their ancient pruning technique is quite exceptional. Many factors have contributed to the development of this technique: the sandy soil, the strong winds blowing at spring, and the hot summer sun. Varieties in Santorini include the white Asyrtiko (cultivated at a percentage of 80%), the best known variety of the Mediterranean grapevine, and, in smaller quantities, Athiri and Aidani, along with other local varieties. Among red grape varieties, Mandilari and Mavrotragano are the most prominent. From mid-to late August you can attend to the harvesting process. In the old times locals used to call it vedema.
You can taste the famous Santorini wines in the wineries all over the island and in most restaurants. Private wine tours are also organized.
The Experience Santorini iPhone applications and Experience Santorini HD for iPad.