Santorini has been attracting visitors to its crescent-shaped shores for hundreds of years. While the black-sanded beaches and the dramatic sweep of its famous volcanic caldera are the main attractions, there are other things to see and do on this stunning island. For wine-buffs, there's no better place to visit that the Santo Winery. Located on the northeast of Santorini, it proudly acts as home to one of the oldest vineyards in the world. Over 3,500 years old, you might think that growing grapes on the rim of a volcano wouldn't produce anything worth drinking! However, the soil, made up of light stone, volcanic ash, and lava, helps grow grapes with a very distinct flavour that are used to produce the world-class Santo Wines.
Getting to the Santo WineryYou won't find many of the Santo Wines far from their home: the vines are a low-yield strain, so every bottle is highly prized. If you want to sample Santo Wines while on your holidays in Santorini, the best place to do it is where they're grown. The Santo Winery throws its doors open to wine lovers between April and November. However, this isn't your typical, holiday wine-tasting: the Santo Winery experience is elegant and exciting, and sure to leave your palate pleased. The home of Santo Wines is located in Pyrgos, just outside Thira. Don't worry about getting up the steep cliff: a local bus will take care of the hard work, allowing you to enjoy the scenery as you travel. Once there, you'll be met by staff who will take you on a tour of the winery and share their knowledge of Santo Wines. Given the winery's location, it's often worth bringing a jacket as it can get a little breezy.
Learn about Santo WineThe first part of the tour consists of a short film that explains the wine-making process. Armed with new knowledge, you'll be taken around the facility to see everything from the vines that hold the pale assyrtiko grape and the deep red grapes that are used to make on of the island's most famous wine, Vin Santo, to where the resulting Santo Wine is bottled and stored. However, it's the final part of the tour that most people look forward to!
The highlight of the tourOnce you've seen how the wines are made, you'll be lead to a large hall filled with tables and comfortable seats. There, you can sample a range of the winery's produce, from the well-balanced whites to the sweet, fruity undertones of Vin Santo which, hundreds of years ago, was originally made as holy wine for the local churches! However, the Santo Wine isn't quite the star of the show: it's one half of a world-class double-act. Take your wine outside to the winery's garden and you can relax on a decked ”tasting area', which offers stunning views over the lip of the caldera and across the ocean. The best time to visit the winery is in the late afternoon: time it right and you could be sipping sumptuous Santo Wine and watching the sun slip gently into the sea.