September 2, 2014
The Santorinian soil, so peculiar and unique due to its volcanic constituents, gives grapes with distinctive taste and aromas. The wines produced in Santorini are renowned worldwide both for their quality and and their unique taste. Let’s visit the best Santorini wineries, carrying family tradition in wine making and producing award-winning wines. Most of them are open to the public for visiting and wine-tasting but we would also recommend to live the unique ceremonial experience of wine tasting at Vedema resort.
Gavalas Wines: The Gavalas family’s history, part of the rich tradition of winemaking in Santorini, is carried on today by George Gavalas utilizing many of the same practices as his distant forefathers. But even though many customs of the past still remain, George has been able to bring a modern approach to the family business in order to help realize the enormous potential of the indigenous varieties from this unique volcanic island. The winery focuses on the main variety of Assyrtiko, but also been involved in reviving some of the more obscure grapes on the island like Katsano and Gaidouria. Gavalas Winery, one of the oldest “canavas” of the island, lies in the traditional village of Megalochori.
Domaine Sigalas: On the ancient plain of Oia, lies the winery of DOMAINE SIGALAS. The owner, Paris Sigalas, raised on Santorini and first began making wine inside the traditional cave or “canava” located at the family home where he was born. Paris now runs a modern winery, where visitors can come to taste his special wines and enjoy the famous Santorini sunset. A mathematician by trade, Sigalas has given all of his time and effort to realizing the extraordinary potential that the Assyrtiko of Santorini has to offer. Because of Paris’ deep affection for his native island, he has continued the island’s ancient winemaking traditions and has become a tireless advocate for the protection of the historic vineyard and the unique viticultural practices still used there.
Gaia wines: Gaia’s winery on Santorini Island is open to visitors from May to October and is situated by the sea, on the eastern side of the island, near the airport and between Kamari and Monolithos. The winery is located in a refurbished tomato processing factory dating back the early of last century. Gaia Wines completely refurbished the building which now houses a state of the art winery. Here visitors can tour the winemaking facilities where THALASSITIS, THALASSITIS OAK FERMENTED and ASSYRTIKO BY GAIA – WILD FERMENT are produced and taste the full range of Gaia Wines including those produced in Nemea. They can also visit the traditional small cellar where a barrel-aged aromatic vinegar from Assyrtiko grape is produced
Boutari wines: One of the prized estates of the Boutari Group, the Santorini winery, located in Megalohori, opened in 1989 and has played a leading role in the commercial development of Santorini wines worldwide, as well as in the viticultural development of the island. Boutari has brought experience and innovative thinking to Santorini, playing a pivotal role in establishing the modern parameters for today’s August harvest and helping Assyrtiko achieve its full potential. Combining modern winemaking techniques with tradition, Boutari has helped raise the qualitative standards required for the production of Santorini’s PDO wines. Their wines are focused mainly on local indigenous grapes, including the whites varieties of Assyrtiko, Aidani and Athiri and the reds of Mandilaria and Mavrotragano. They also have 6 hectares of their own vineyards, first planted in 1992, where they experiment with local varieties using traditional viticultural techniques.
Artemis Karamolegos wines: The Karamolegos Winery, founded in 1952 by Artemis Karamolegos, began from a passion for winemaking passed down to him from his beloved grandfather who made wine in a small cave or “canava” using the old traditional methods. In 2004, a new and modern winery was built to take advantage of the latest in modern technology, while also adhering to the traditional practices passed down from generations. Artemis has been a champion, not only of the main Assyrtiko variety, but has also invested in the cultivation of some of the more obscure indigenous varieties of Santorini, like Mavrotragano, Aidani, Mavrathiro and Voudomato.
Xatzidakis wines: In 1996, Haridimos and Konstantina Hatzidakis returned to the family vineyard their parents had been forced to abandon long ago, after the earthquake of 1956. Together they transformed a traditional cave, “canava”, carved in volcanic rock, into a small boutique winery that now produces some of the finest PDO Santorini wines on the island. Their vineyards surrounding the winery are some of the few actually certified organic on the island and are cultivated using the traditional basket shape vines grown directly on top of the volcanic soil. An innovative Enologist, since his first days of working at Boutari’s Santorini winery, Haridimos continues his work today with an unmatched passion and creative drive to make the perfect Santorini wine.
Santo wines: SantoWines, (Union of Santorini Cooperative) has been an integral part of Santorini’s historic winemaking tradition since 1947 and continues to flourish with the support of its 2500 members. SantoWines successfully combines the latest in modern winemaking techniques with a strong commitment to the sustainable development of the Santorini vineyard as well as to maintaining the longstanding viticultural and winemaking traditions of Santorini that have been passed down through generations of its dedicated members. SantoWines has also been instrumental in continuing the cultivation of other traditional artisanal agricultural products native to the island. Situated in the village of Pyrgos, the winery of SantoWines and their Oenotourism Center, welcome visitors from all over the world as they enjoy one of the most spectacular views of the famous Santorini Caldera from their beautiful veranda and tasting rooms.
Argyros Estate: Argyros Estate, founded in 1903 by George Argyros, was transformed by his grandson, Yiannis into one of the largest estates on Santorini, with vineyards totaling 30 hectares today. Now,his son Matthew, the 4th generation of Argyros, has taken over management of the winery and continues the family’s long tradition in winemaking. Argyros Estate combines the ancient traditions of Santorini together with the latest in modern wine technology to produce some of the most highly awarded wines on the island. Their wines feature a wide variety of native grapes including, Assyrtiko, Athiri, Aidani, Mandilaria and Mavrotragano.
The unique experience of Wine tasting at Vedema Resort: Last but not least, we would recommend to participate at Vedema’s ceremonial wine tasting at the “Canava” Wine Bar and get introduced to wide variety of selected white and red wines from Santorini. Carved out of the Thiran earth, it stands as a catacomb in the middle of Vedema Resort to remind us of the past and inspire us for the future. Converted into a unique Wine Bar, “Canava” offers its guests a distinguishing atmosphere.
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