Greece › Santorini › Wineries & Wine Tours
by Santorini Dave • Updated: March 22, 2023
Santorini Wines, Wineries, and Wine Tours
- Wine tours are incredibly popular on Santorini and they fill up quickly – book early. Most wine tours run from March to November.
- Best Santorini Winery Tours: Santorini Small Group Wine Tour • Santorini Private Wine Tour
- Best Wine Tours with Sunset: Santorini Wine Tasting • Santorini Sunset Wine Tour
- Many wineries offer tours and wine tasting but if you want to visit multiple wineries, book a wine tour (most wineries are small and hard to find if you don’t know the island well). Most tours include hotel pick up and drop off.
- It’s possible to visit wineries on your own but a tour makes getting from one to the next much quicker and easier. Plus, drinking and driving is very uncool.
- Santorini wine is wonderful and unique owing to the dry and unusual climate. Be sure to try some even if you don’t go on a tour. Assyrtico is the most popular variety and available in most Santorini restaurants.
- The Santorini wineries with the best caldera views are Santo and Venetsanos. Most wine tours will visit one or both of them.
- Santorini boat tours don’t sell out as early, so book your wine tour first.
The Best Wine Tours in Santorini
1. Small Group Santorini Wine Tour
A great small-group tour that visits three traditional wineries and vineyards scattered around Santorini. Hotel pick up and drop off makes it all super easy. Will usually visit Santo Winery or Venetsanos (both with great caldera views) or Gavalas (my favorite) and 2 others. Starts at 3:30pm and lasts a little over four hours.
2. Santorini Private Wine Tour
This is a private wine tour for serious wine lovers. Definitely worth it for the intimacy and attention to detail, but maybe not for everyone. Most people do it as a couple but the tour allows for a group of 6. Starts at 10am or 4pm with the evening tour having a sunset vies from either Santo or Venetsanos Wineries.
3. Santorini Sunset Wine Tasting
Wonderful small group tour in the early evening. Visit 3 wineries and have 12 tastings. Starts at 4:00pm and usually finishes at Venetsanos Winery (pictured above) for fantastic caldera views of the sunset.
Fully Booked Wine Tours
It’s common for the above tours to sell out in June, July, August, and September. If so, these tours are also excellent:
• Santorini Wine Roads Tour
• Half-Day Wine Adventure Tour
• Santorini Sunset Wine Tour
The wine industry on Santorini is an integral part of the island’s culture, history, and economy. The volcanic soil, unique climate, and traditional viticulture techniques have contributed to the distinct characteristics of Santorini wines.
1. Ancient origins: The history of winemaking on Santorini dates back more than 3,500 years, with evidence suggesting that the Minoan civilization cultivated vines on the island. The volcanic eruption around 1600 BCE, which devastated the Minoan settlements, also had a profound impact on the island’s viticulture by creating the unique volcanic soil that defines Santorini’s terroir today.
2. Cultural influences: Throughout its long history, Santorini has been shaped by various cultures and empires, including the Phoenicians, Dorians, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, and Ottomans. Each of these groups left their mark on the island’s viticulture, contributing to the evolution of its winemaking techniques and grape varieties.
3. Indigenous grape varieties: Santorini’s vineyards are home to several indigenous grape varieties, with Assyrtiko being the most prominent. This resilient grape has adapted to the island’s harsh environmental conditions and has become synonymous with Santorini wines, prized for its high acidity, pronounced minerality, and citrus notes.
4. Traditional viticulture: Winemakers on Santorini have developed unique vine-training techniques to cope with the island’s challenging climate, characterized by strong winds, low rainfall, and intense sunlight. The “kouloura” method involves shaping vines into low-lying, basket-like forms, which protects the grapes from wind damage and helps retain moisture in the arid environment.
5. Terroir: Santorini’s volcanic soil, composed of pumice, ash, and lava, imparts a distinct minerality to the wines, contributing to their complexity and depth of flavor. The island’s climate, characterized by strong winds, low rainfall, and intense sunlight, further accentuates the wine’s traits. These conditions lead to lower grape yields but result in more concentrated flavors and higher acidity.
6. Grape varieties: Assyrtiko, the dominant grape variety on the island, is renowned for its high acidity, pronounced minerality, and citrus notes. Its ability to maintain acidity even in the hot, arid climate of Santorini is key to producing crisp, refreshing wines. Other indigenous grape varieties like Athiri, Aidani, Mavrotragano, and Mandilaria contribute additional layers of complexity and character to Santorini wines.
7. Viticulture: Santorini’s traditional vine-training method, known as “kouloura,” involves shaping the vines into low-lying, basket-like forms. This unique technique protects the grapes from strong winds and helps retain moisture in the arid environment, leading to healthier vines and more consistent grape quality.
8. Winemaking styles: Santorini is known for its dry, crisp white wines, mainly produced from Assyrtiko grapes. These wines often exhibit a saline, mineral quality with pronounced acidity and citrus notes, making them highly versatile for food pairing. The island is also famous for Vinsanto, a luscious dessert wine made from sun-dried grapes, which boasts a rich, complex profile with notes of dried fruits, nuts, and honey.
9. Ageability: Santorini wines, particularly those made from Assyrtiko, are known for their aging potential. The high acidity and pronounced mineral character of these wines allow them to develop gracefully over time, with some examples evolving and gaining complexity for a decade or more.
10. International recognition: Santorini wines have gained global recognition for their unique flavor profiles, high quality, and distinct terroir. This has led to increased demand and exportation, raising the profile of the island’s wines on the international stage.
11. Modern winemaking techniques: Winemakers in Santorini have embraced modern technology and techniques to improve the quality and consistency of their wines. This includes temperature-controlled fermentation, the use of stainless steel tanks for fermentation and aging, and careful blending to achieve desired flavor profiles.
12. Sustainable and organic viticulture: Many winemakers on the island have adopted sustainable and organic farming practices to minimize their environmental impact and maintain the health of the vineyards. This includes using organic fertilizers, reducing water consumption, and implementing integrated pest management strategies.
The Best Santorini Wineries
- Santo Wines (Pyrgos) – The most comprehensive tours of any one winery. It has a large shop filled with wines and local food specialties. Fantastic views of the cliffs and caldera. (Most wine tours visit Santo or Venetsanos.)
- Venetsanos Winery (Megalochori) – Similar views as Santo but a little smaller, with a little more charm.
- Gavalas Winery (Megalochori) – My favorite winery on Santorini. Small, friendly, intimate (but hard to find if you’re driving on your own).
- Art Space Winery (Exo Gonia) – A spellbinding mix of wine, caves, and art. The owner guides you around the property and explains its history with a thick Greek accent. Very cool.
- Domaine Sigalas (Oia) – A small winery a 10-minute walk from a bus stop on the Fira-Oia bus route. It has wine tastings with appetizers from March to November.
- Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum (Vothonas) – A 300 meter long cellar (8 meters underground) that hosts a wine museum. The museum presents the history of Greek wine and the life of vine-growers in Santorini since the 1600s.
Map of Santorini Wineries
Getting To Santorini Wineries:
• Santorini buses from Fira to Akrotiri or Perissa will stop a short walk from Santo Winery, Venetsanos, Gavalas, and Boutari. (If coming from Oia, Imerovigli, or another village you’ll need to bus to Fira and then switch buses.)
• Buses from Fira to Kamari will stop a short walk from the Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum, Artemis Karamolegos Winery, Canava Roussos, Argyros Winery, and Art Space Winery. (If coming from Oia, Imerovigli, or another village you’ll need to bus to Fira and then switch buses.)
• Buses from Fira to Oia will stop a moderate walk from Vassaltis Vineyards and Domaine Sigalas Winery.
• Getting a Santorini taxi to and from wineries is possible, but in practice, a pretty big hassle.
- Art Space Winery – Exo Gonia
- Artemis Karamolegos Winery – Exo Gonia
- Boutari Winery Santorini – Megalochori
- Canava Antonis Arvanitis – Megalochori
- Canava Roussos – Episkopi Gonia
- Domaine Sigalas – Oia
- Estate Argyros – Episkopi Gonia
- Gaia Wines – Perivolia
- Gavalas Winery – Megalochori
- Hatzidakis Winery – Pyrgos
- Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum – Vothonas
- Santo Wines – Pyrgos
- Vassaltis Vineyards – Vourvoulos
- Venetsanos Winery – Megalochori
Books on Santorini Wine & Wineries
The Wines of Santorini by Yiannis Karakasis is a joy to read and wonderfully informative about every last detail regarding Santorini wines. It’s a little tricky to find but if you get the chance do grab a copy.
Santorini Hotels for Wine Lovers
Hotels of Note
• Akra Suites (charming wine cellar for tastings)
• Katikies Garden (centuries-old canava formerly used to store the pope’s wine, 3 wine cellars on site now)
• Nous (wine from every winery on the island)
• The Vasilicos (same owners as Vassaltis Vineyard, wine tastings, pairings, & tours)
• Kapari Natural Resort (wine-themed restaurant)
• Heliotopos (popular wine bar for sunset viewing)
• Vedema (located in the heart of the wine country, tastings in their cellar)
• Anatoli Hotel (set in former winery and distillery)
• Angel Luxury Suites (attached to a wine bar)
• Katikies Kirini (daily sunset wine tastings)
• Canaves Oia Hotel (wine tastings on site)
• Atrina Canava 1894 (set in a former wine cave)
• Charisma Suites (sunset champagne event every night, free for guests)
• Perivolas (restaurant is an old wine canava)
Wonderful website with tons of great info! Thank you!
Just returned from Santorini and loved the visit at Estate Argyros. Wines and hospitality were both top notch! From there it was an easy drive over to Metaxy Mas for lunch. I think the whites at Argyros are among the best on the Santorini.
Thanks John. Glad it was helpful.
Sadly, all wine tours are sold out for our visit in 3 weeks. We have decided to spend our time doing a boat tour, hike, and Akrotiri but would like to visit at least one winery. Which would you choose for a quick one-hour stop: Venetsanos or Santo Winery. Thanks.
Both have great views but Venetsanos has a little more charm. Santo has a better (larger) wine shop – if you’re looking to take some wine home (or get it shipped).
Your site is helpful. Are there any wine tours in the off season? We are visiting in February and can’t find any availability. Thanks.
There are combo sightseeing and wine tours (like this one) available in February.
My problem: No availability left for Wine Tours.
Love your website and has been super helpful planning my trip. I just booked a solo trip to Greece and will be staying in Fira for 2 and half days. I would love to do a wine tour but it appears that everything is either totally booked up already or requires multiple people to take part. Are there any wine tours that allow solo travelers that are still available to book and if I wanted to plan a DIY tour what would your recommendation be? (Time of day, vineyards to see, walking or renting a driver for a few hours). Lastly if I were to do a DIY tour stopping at 3 vineyards for tasting what would that estimated cost be? Thanks!!
Yes, wine tours get fully booked earlier and earlier every year.
For a DIY wine tour I’d start at Venetsanos Winery (buses go nearby on their way to Akrotiri or Perissa). Then walk to Gavalas Winery in Megalochori. It’s less than a 15 minute walk and it’s a little tricky because of the lack of sidewalks but still pretty easy and doable. If that sounds unappealing you could call a taxi but you might be waiting a while. Those are two of my favorite wineries in Santorini. If you needed a third keep walking (sort of south and west) to Boutari about another 10 minutes south of Gavalas. Then bus back to Fira. As for costs it’s very hard to say as each winery offers a wide range of tastings.
Thanks for all the information on wine tours! Regarding to answer on a DIY tour, I wanted to follow-up to your answer to a previous poster. We’ll be staying in Megalachori, and are interested in doing our own mini-tour starting at Gavalas, and then walking to either Venetsanos or Boutari (which both seem to be semi-close?). Which would you recommend, and about how far is the walk?
Go to Venetsanos for the views (awesome) and setting. Go to Boutari for the wine. Not that there’s a huge difference in quality but Venetsanos does get more people interested primarily in the views. Boutari is sort of ugly and attracts more serious connoisseurs. As to walking, it’s a little tricky but doable and not far (walking along the busy road is more of the problem). If possible scope out both places beforehand (in a car, if you have one) which will make finding them on foot easier.
Hi Dave! Thanks for all of this awesome info. Are there any combo food & wine tours? It would be great to do both at the same time.
The Santorini Cooking Class and Wine-Tasting Tour is great.
We would like to book for a tour online for November, but I can’t for some reason. Are the tours full or closed for the season?
If so can we do it in the island? Or do you recommend just walk in the winery? Our plan is on November 14-18.
This private wine tour of Santorini has availability in November.
We’d like to visit a winery near Oia during our visit in December. I see Sigalas is within a short drive of Oia. Is it open in December and will we be able to visit?
Sigalas usually closes in early December. But if you contact them they’ll open up, give you a quick tour around the grounds, and let you taste and buy some wines. Send them an email at email@example.com or call Panayiota at +30 6982 877912.
Hi Dave, many thanks for all of the useful information your site provides. It’s been incredibly helpful for planning my trip over the last few months! I will be staying in Santorini for 6 days, what are the benefits of doing a wine tour as opposed to visiting on your own? We have rented a car for our stay. Look forward to hearing from you!
The biggest advantage is you can enjoy the wine without having to worry about drinking too much. The pours are usually generous and it’s not hard to feel tipsy after a winery or definitely two. Also, finding the wineries can be a challenge. And the tours offer good info on the winers, wineries, and how the grapes are grown that you wouldn’t get without the tour. But can you do it yourself? For sure.
Dave, you’re a legend. Thanks a million for all this info. My wife and I are going to Santorini in a couple weeks and would like to do a wine tour. We prefer red wines to the dessert-ey whites but I’m noticing there are mostly white wines that are popular. Do you recommend any wineries or wine tours that have mostly reds? Thanks in advance.
The best wines on Santorini are whites so I’d encourage you to focus on them even if your tastes tend in a different direction. If you do want to try some reds then Gavalas Winery has the best red wines in Santorini.
After reading your review on Santo Winery and seeing the views, we are hoping to select a sunset tour that includes this winery. However, on the linked “Santorini Half-day Wine Tour” above from GetYourGuide, it does not specify which wineries will be visited. Are you fairly certain that Santo Winery is usually on that tour route? I messaged GetYourGuide about a week ago to check but have not received a response.
Although it was not listed on your website, I also reached out to Santorini Wine Tours to see what tour route they take. Unfortunately they do not visit Santo but instead visit Venetsanos, which they say has equivalent views?
What are your thoughts on this? We just want to make sure we sign up for the best sunset tour option!
No tour will absolutely guarantee which wineries they will visit as it can always change. The Santo winery or Venetsanos is consistently the final visit on the sunset version of the Half Day Tour. Venetsanos is great and has gorgeous sunset views (similar to Santo).
Hi Santorini Dave,
I will be in Santorini on my honeymoon for 3 nights September 29 – Oct 1, during that time it will be my (soon-to-be) husband’s birthday (Sept 30). I want to plan a wine tour with dinner reservations afterward to celebrate (or something like that). What do you recommend?
The wine tours on Santorini are really well done and well worth doing. Most will drop you back at your hotel (or really any place along the caldera) so you’re free to pick from the best restaurants on the island.
Thanks for this site. It’s great! I’m wondering if you have any tips on a do-it-yourself wine tour? I plan to rent scooters for exploring the island, but I wouldn’t want to do this while drinking at several wineries. Is it possible to do this via taxi? Or, are they too expensive and hard to order? Is there an area with a bunch in walking distance? We are staying in Finikia if that makes a difference.
Thanks for your help,
Santorini is loaded with wineries but they are fairly spread out. If you did want to do a self-guided walking tour I would visit the 3 following wineries: Gavalas (in the village of Megalochori), Venetsanos (on the caldera), and Santo Winery (on the caldera). Start by taking a bus from Fira (or wherever you’re staying) to Megalochori – they’ll run about every 30 to 60 minutes. Then find the Gavalas winery (a little tricky but it’s a small village so not too hard). Then walk north and towards the caldera to find Venetsanos. Then further north (and back towards Fira) to get to Santo. You’re now north of the ferry port so there will be plenty of buses running from the main road back to Fira. These 3 wineries are great but the walk between them is not really along the caldera, provides few views, and has stretches on a busy road. So, do it to save money but don’t be expecting a beautiful walk between the wineries.
Your site has been so helpful in planning our Honeymoon in Santorini!
We definitely want to take one of the wine tours. Aside from time of day, is there a real difference between the half day wine tour and the sunset wine tour you suggested on this page? We can’t decide which would be better since they seem so similar… would love your insight!
Go with the half-day tour (it has two times for you to choose from, so the evening tour will have sunset views). I listed the other tour primarily because my first choice often gets sold out.
Do you know which 3 wineries the Santorini half day small group wine tour visits?
Gavalas, Santo, and Boutari are the most commonly visited but can change because of the season or schedule. All are good – and the smaller wineries are often the most memorable.
I was thinking of doing the 5 hour boat tour: red beach/white beach/bbq/hotsprings.
I am going May 21-24. Do you recommend me going on the day one 10AM-3PM, or the sunset one 3PM-8PM.
I would think watching the sunset is amazing but afraid once it reaches -7-8, it would be too windy.
I don’t mind doing the morning but I just want to make the right choice.
What do you think?
I would do the sunset one as watching the sun set from below the Oia cliffs is really unique. Though swimming will be better (and they’ll be more of it) on the daytime tour. It can be windy anytime so don’t plan around that.
I’m going to Herakleion for 5 days second week of September, thinking of taking the ferry over to Santorini for 1 day. Which day of the week is best to go over (I grew up in Italy so I’m thinking it might be like there when on Sundays everything is closed, but Saturday are overly crowded) and ideas of best tours to make the most of our time there. I liked the photography tour but none of us are photographers, unless using Instagram, are you obliged to take professional pictures?
There are no guarantees but Wednesday and Thursday are typically the busiest days as those are the most popular days for cruise ship stops. Cruise ships will often leave Athens on the weekend and then return the following weekend giving them a port stop in Santorini mid-week. Sunday and Monday are the best bets for a “quiet” day. The photography tour is great for everyone from beginner to pro.
Your website is the most useful and helpful site I’ve ever come across while vacation planning. My significant other and I will be visiting Santorini (only for 4 days) from March 31-April 4th. We’re very limited on tours, and As per your recommendation I was interested in the 5 hour sunset catamaran tour. But noticed it includes swimming, snorkelling, and hot springs. Will the weather or water actually be warm enough during those dates to conduct those activities?
Thank you for ALL your efforts and advice.
There will be hot springs swimming as that water is warmish (not hot). The boat stops about 100 meters from the hot springs and the sea water from the boat to the hot springs is chilly. Bring a big warm towel. The “swimming/snorkeling” will probably be ignored but they’re not the highlights of the tour in any case.
Hi we will be going to Santorini / Mykonos in May, we will be on a cruise ship, the 2 islands are the ones I Really want to visit, and see the sunset on Oia. Mykonos we are only there from 7:00 to 14:00, Santorini arrival 7:00 to 19:00. Can you recommend a private Santorini shore tour for 2 senior ladies, (we are not rickety), would be much appreciated. Regards Dianne.
I would do either the half-day wine tour or the Santorini photography tour. Both are excellent. If you did decide to do a caldera boat tour be sure not to do one that takes in the sunset as you won’t have time to get back to your ship.
We will only be in Fira for 3 nights so unfortunately won’t have time to do a wine tour (we should have stayed longer but plans have been finalized). Is there anywhere in or near Fira to walk to a winery or at least enjoy a good selection of wines?
No wineries within walking distance of Fira but there is the Assyrtico wine bar/restaurant on the main pathway in Fira. Lots of good wine.
We’re a group of 4 visiting Santorini at mid-October. Would you recommend booking tours in advance?
You’ll likely be fine not booking and buying after you arrive – but you just never know. If it’s a tour you’re set on then I’d book in advance. Wine tours are small and can easily fill up with one group booking. Boat tours have more capacity and are easier left until after arrival.
We have 2 full days on Santorini. On the first day we’ll walk the foot path from Fira to Oia and explore the towns along the way. On the second day we’ll do either a wine tour of the Santorini wineries or a boat tour of the caldera with sunset and volcano walk. Which would you recommend? Which tour will have better food?
Both tours are great fun but the volcano/caldera/sunset boat tour is the one to do if you only have one day. You can do good wine tours in lots of places but there’s only one caldera like this. The food on the boat tour is adequate (far better than it has to be) but not as good as it would be on the wine tour – but still, do the boat tour.