The Vedema tradition in Santorini

June 5, 2014

In Santorinian idiom Ventema means “harvest” and is a synonym to productivity and fun for the elders.

Lets follow the roots of tradition to find out why!

For Santorini, ventema period means singing, dancing, and merrymaking in all over the island. Before the sunrise, the big bell of Panagia church rung 36 times signifying the lively beginning of the day into the vineyards for grape harvesting. Musicians arrived at the canavas and brightened the spirits after harvesting, while at the same time, men cleaned up their feet, rolled up their trousers, entered the wine-press to step on the grapes and melt them. These men had a great reason to dance! The day that the wine pressing was finished, it was the biggest festival and an excuse for a great party. It is said that whoever experienced ventema in the old days, will never forget it.


In the old days, the canava was an essential part of every captain’s house. The canavas served as workshops for several agricultural activities, especially wine-making, thus the rooms had a specific architecture. The canava room has two windows, one facing the North and the other facing the South, in order to be ventilated from strong odours and exhalations.
Vine harvesting was performed early in the morning and the grapes were carried to the canavas in order to obtain a stable temperature;  Consequently, the procedure of the wine making started: The grapes were put into the canava, in the dark wine-press, where the pulp of the grape flowed into the wring that was also built under cover. Finally, the wine was conveyed directly into the “amphoras” (barrels), through the use of wooden buckets. Today, modern facilities have taken the place of canavas in wine making, but these rooms are a great chapter in Santorini’s history and tradition.

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