Food and Drink Vas  Panagiotopoulos

Santorini's must-visit wineries

Santorini is famous for its unique volcanic landscape and stunning views over the Aegean. But with over 1,200 hectares of vineyards, the Greek island also produces stunning wines. Here are some of the best wineries to visit

For a stunning sunset

A cooperative winery with over 1,200 members, Santo Wines is the island’s largest wine producer. The award-winning winegrower was established in 1947 and now exports all over the world – from the US to Scandinavia. Situated in the outskirts of Pyrgos village, it offers frequent wine-tastings and audiovisual tours of its facilities. Experience Santorini’s winemaking tradition while admiring the gorgeous sunset – with a glass in hand, naturally.

For a beach-side drink

Hosted in a former tomato factory, Gaia Wines is probably Santorini’s most experimental winery. Founded in 1994 by Yiannis Paraskeuopoulos, a professor of Oenology at the University of Athens, it produces three different Assyrtiko cuvees – Thalassitis, Thalassitis Oak-Fermented and Gaia Assyrtiko, a wild ferment that he started making, when he discovered 18 different native yeasts on the property. Gaia Wines is located on the east side of the island, on the beach between Kamari and Monolithos, in a lovely stone building built in the early 1900s, open to the public from May through to October.

For an organic glass of wine

Haridimos Hatzidakis’ winery produces eleven labels – seven of which are Assyrtiko-based. Other varieties on offer include the white Aidani and the red Mavrotragano. Hatzidakis’ estate was founded in 1997. His family had previously had vineyards on the island – before abandoning those in 1956 following an earthquake. The winery cultivates a total of 10 hectares of vineyards, at an altitude from 70 up to 350 meters, and focuses on reviving age-old techniques. Hatzidakis’ wines are exclusively organic – with its dry whites being particularly appealing.

For a fruity finish

Venetsanos winery was built in 1947 and became the first industrial wine producer on the island. The family-run estate is located right above Santorini’s main port and offers its visitors breathtaking views over the caldera and volcanic islands. Current wine favourites include a bright yellow-coloured 2015 Assyrtiko with a delicate pear aroma, a golden-toned, lime-flavoured Nykteri Assyriko and a blood-red 2015 Mandilaria that oozes jammy strawberry, fig and sour cherry scents.

For global citizens

Sigalas wines are being served in the trendiest eateries of Hong Kong, Shanghai and Rio. The winery’s humble beginnings can be traced back to the early ‘90s when the family owned a traditional ‘Canava’ vineyard in Oia’s ancient plain. In the estate’s tasting room, the visitor can relish wines from the Mediterranean’s vibrant grape varieties – Assyrtiko Santorini and the Aidani, Athiri, Mandilaria and Mavrotragano. Last year, the winery released an exclusive collection – limited to a thousand cases – of seven Assyrtiko wines from seven different villages in a bid to highlight the alterations in the volcanic island’s soil.