Santorini 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
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.
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.
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
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)