Santorini wines are famous all over the world, in fact, many connoisseurs suggest they might be the best in all Greece. This is good news for oenophiles visiting the island, and even if you are not that passionate about wines, you can still appreciate the quality of the libation brought to man by Dionysus, the Greek god of grape harvest, winemaking, and wine.
Vinsanto – not the Tuscan Vin Santo – was the first Santorini wine to become famous worldwide and it happened in the Middle Ages when wine production on the island was strongly influenced by the Republic of Venice. Today, however, the most sought-after seems to be the Assyrtiko (pronounced ah-SEER-tee-koh), the island’s flagship grape, however, yet all indigenous grapes produce high-quality wines with particularities that will surprise your palate. Because of the nature of the island, vines are trained to grow in “aspa” – the volcanic soil rich with ash, lava, and pumice – which gives a unique character to the wines.
“The soil has little to no organic matter, but is rich in essential minerals, except potassium, creating wines with a naturally low pH level and high acidity.”
Another particularity of the wines of Santorini is the cultivation method, called koulara. Basically, the vines are woven into endless circles to form a basket that will protect the grapes from the strong winds and harsh summer sun. The vines are curled like this several times over the years. Some of the “baskets” you see in vineyards on the island can be over 70 years old.
According to statistics, currently, there are just over 1400 hectares of the island that are cultivated with vineyards. But what Santorini lacks in quantity, makes up for in quality and flavor.
Must See Boutique Wineries in Santorini
The multi-awarded Domaine Sigalas in Baxes is the closest to Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa. They are a family business, quite famous for their wines, but also for the scenic location. A tour of the vineyards, a break under the pergola with good food and wine, waiting for the fantastic Santorini sunset, are the perfect endings to a perfect day.
One of the oldest wineries on the island, tracing its roots back to 1903 when it was founded by George Argyros, the estate remains a family business. They make a variety of wines using the indigenous grapes of Assyrtiko, Athiri, Aidani, Mandilaria, and Mavrotragano. Estate Argyros is located in Episcopi Gonia.
Vassaltis Vineyards is the newest boutique winery to open on Santorini. They are in business since 2016, and they distinguish themselves through modern spaces designed by award-winning architects, a beautiful tasting room, and wines that already received accolades for both quality and flavor.
Boutari was established in 1879 in Naoussa – Imathia regional unit of Macedonia, Greece – but it is in Megalohori in Santorini since 1989. They also have wineries in Peloponissos, Crete, Goumenissa, and Attica, as well as one winery in Southern France, near the city of Limoux and within the greater wine region of Languedoc.
The Gavalas Winery has been producing Santorini wines since the 1920s. They are located in Megalochori and have an 18-acre vineyard planted with Santorini PDO native varieties Assyrtiko, Athiri, Aidani and several rare local varieties as Katsano, Gaidouria, Mavrotragano, and Voudomato.
The Hatzidakis Winery was founded in 1996 through the expansion of a former Santorini vineyard abandoned since 1956. It stands at an altitude of 330 meters above sea level, in Pyrgos Kallistis. The cultivate 10 hectares of indigenous grape varieties. All their wines are certified organic.
Gaia Wines was founded by Leon Karatsalos and Yiannis Paraskevopoulos in 1994. Their winery in Vrachies in Exo Gonia, between Kamari and Monolithos, occupies the building of a former tomato processing plant. They are famous for their Assyrtiko wines. They cultivate the grapes according to the ancient koulara tradition, and they harvest by hand, while they were the first in the island to make Thalassitis, an Assyrtico based wine aging in vessels in the bottom of the Santorinian Sea.The winery is open to the public from May to October.
Canava Roussos is a winery with tradition, tracing its roots to 1836. It remained in the same family for five generations, and it is today managed by Yannis Roussos II, who is one of the most enthusiastic advocates for the protection of the historic Santorini vineyards from tourist development. With such passion for tradition, it’s obvious that this winery should be on your bucket list.
Artemis Karamolegos Winery
Artemis Karamolegos Winery was founded in 1952 by the grandfather of the current owner. Production started in a small canava, but today, the winery is one of the most modern on the island. Like most winemakers on Santorini, they have high regard for the flagship grape of the island, and they make outstanding Assyrtiko wines. But they also promote Mavrotragano, Aidani, Mavrathiro, and Voudomato. You can find them In Exo Gonia.
Venetsanos Winery is a family business with roots in 1947. It enjoys a scenic location above the port of Athinios, overlooking the magnificent caldera of Santorini. It is well worth a visit as its architectural style is the traditional style that makes the cliff houses of Oia such outstanding landmarks. They also have a small café serving typical food and house wines.
SantoWines are not a boutique winery, but a cooperative that counts on more than 1200 active members. They have been at the backbone of Santorini winemaking culture since 1947, so they deserve an honorable mention. Besides, most wine producers on the island are members too. Their winery was built in 1992 in the village of Pyrgos. They have an oenotourism center too. You can drop in for a tour every day after 9:00 am, but bookings are recommended in high season.
Art Space Santorini
Art Space Santorini is an art gallery with a winery and wine museum. You’ll find it in Exo Gonia on the way to Kamari. The gallery occupies the wine cellars and caves of the old family winery of Antonis N. Argyros, who is also the brains behind the art project that opened its doors in 1999. The exhibition is one of the best you will find on the island, but what makes this address interesting for oenophiles is the new winery that produces and stores wines in the adjacent underground cavern of the old barn.
Tselepos Winery, or the Tselepos Estate, is a young business. Their first release was in 2014. They cultivate Moschofilero, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Agiorgitiko, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
These are the best boutique wineries in Santorini. Contact us and our guest experience specialists will organize a visit to the winery of your choice or a tour that will make you love the wines and vineyards of this historic Wineland.