Wine from the Santorini Vineyards

Wine from the Santorini Vineyards

Santorini region

Known for its magical sunsets, unique views and tragic ancient history, the wild and beautiful Santorini is one of many Cyclades islands located in the Aegean Sea. The island was devastated by one of the largest volcanic eruptions ever recorded in history, called the Minoan Eruption, about 3,600 years ago in the 16th century BC, forever shaping its rugged landscape. The eruption caused the island to collapse into the now-empty caldera, covering the surrounding area in volcanic ash deposits hundreds of metres deep. The sea rushed in to fill the crater, leaving only the present, crescent-shaped island above water. It is believed the eruption led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete to the south, through a gigantic tsunami, with some suggesting that the Minoan Eruption is the source of the legend of Atlantis. Aside from the blue-domed churches and sparklingly white cubic houses along the coast, as immortalised on many postcards, there is a world behind this that many don’t see. Authentic and idyllic local villages such as Magalochori are unspoilt and can only be reached via a steep path, providing breath-taking views over the Caldera. Here you will also find the The Gavalas Winery, widely known for being the friendliest and most welcoming winery on the island, where some of the most exquisite and distinctive Santorini wine is produced using the white native variety of Assyrtiko.​

Volcanic Terroir

The Santorini soil composition is volcanic pumice ash, providing well-draining, low-density sub-soil with high alkaline PH due to the levels of calcium in the soil. The Santorini soil is characteristically low in fertility and Potassium, but high in essential minerals of Iron, Calcium and Magnesium. This results in wines with high acidity, reaching PH values of 2.7 in some cases. Santorini receives little or no rainfall in the summer months and throughout the year. The vines are trained and woven into living baskets called Kouloura. The basket shape protects the grapes growing in the inside from the harsh elements: high bleaching sunlight and strong damaging winds. The protected grapes’ water source is drawn from the miniature microclimate that is developed inside the basket space, with salty sea mist collecting and condensing in the basket interior. 

The Vines of Santorini

The vineyards of Santorini haven’t been affected by Phylloxera, the disease responsible for the devastation of most European vineyards in the 19th century, due to the island’s geographical isolation from mainland Greece, and the rest of Europe.  All of Santorini’s vines are therefore from original root stock, with 250-year-old ungrafted vines, and possibly older, found on the island. Wines produced from ungrafted root stock can rightfully claim greater originality than mainland European counterparts, and provide a better reflection of the true terroir of the lands and environment in which they are produced. Older vines offer lower grape yields, with a greater concentration of flavour in the few grapes that are produced by the vines. As the vines age, the roots grow deeper into the ground, picking up the strong minerality of the sub-soil strata and transfer these complex flavours into the grapes. 

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