Santorini is a volcanic island south of Greece part of which that is thought to have been formed as recently as 1640 BC as a result of the same cataclysmic volcanic eruption that destroyed Minoan culture on the island of Crete. This is noteworthy, wine-wise, because the high levels of post-eruption sulfur found everywhere here almost ensure that ambient yeast fermentations will not succeed. As well, the low levels of potassium in the volcanic soil ensures that there is no issue with phylloxera on the island. The dominant grape here is Assyrtiko which makes steely vibrant whites with the potential to age. The traditional viticultural methods are ungrafted vines that tend to be planted in small, sheltered hollows and that get woven into a living basket or birds nest shape as the vines mature. This is to protect the grapes being grown inside the nest from a brisk and stinging wind carrying sand and salt that blows almost constantly over the island. Every seventy to eighty years, the basket is lopped off the vine’s base and it starts to grow again on the same roots. Because of this, it has been estimated that some of the Assyrtiko vine roots that have been regenerated like this may be several centuries old and possibly the oldest still-producing wine vines in the world.


    Stay up to date!
    Sign up for the Ultimate Wine Lovers Newsletter with weekly offers
    Thanks for signing up. You must confirm your email address before we can send you. Please check your email and follow the instructions.
    We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
    Don't miss out. Subscribe today.