There is evidence that Santorini’s wine culture dates back 5000 years, however it’s the eruption of 1600BC that makes the unique wines from Santorini what they are today. The explosion left behind a mixture of volcanic ash, pumice stone, solidified lava and sand, rich in most essential minerals, creating an environment to produce crisp, mineral driven wines.
The Assyrtiko grape, native to Santorini, dominates the island, which is home to 35 indigenous varieties. This amazing grape has evolved over 4 millennia to thrive in this difficult volcanic terroir where sun, strong winds and lack of rain during the growing season, make it a true viticultural wonder. The grapes are grown on vines made into baskets called “kouloura” that sit directly atop the volcanic soil and are nourished by a sea fog that covers the island during the early morning hours.
Santorini winemakers produce a variety of Assyrtiko styles, including the original Vinsanto, made today as it was centuries ago, as well as wines from grapes like Aidani, Athiri, Katsano and others. Please try these wines next time you are out for dinner, or ask at your local wine shop, and discover why these wines are showing up on the top wine lists across the country.