Wine lovers, get ready to wax lyrical about bouquets, finish and perhaps even throw in a comment on malic acids, if you’re feeling fruity. Santorini’s vineyards are ready to welcome you with open arms – and, of course, a cheese platter. If you’re not quite up to speed on mouth-feel, ageing and tannins, fear not. On a wine tour, you’ll rarely be far from a sommelier or two to clue you in to the good stuff. And on Santorini, almost any wine is the good stuff. Depending on your palette, of course.
Santorini winegrowers have benefitted from fertile, volcanic soils for centuries – giving them plenty of time to get their grape crushing techniques down. And more than a little chance to rustle up a lively wine tour. Take your pick from one of many illustrious vineyards – or go all in with a tour that takes in a handful.
Over the last 300 years the Gavalas Winery has been handed down from generation to generation. And it’s become a firm favourite among Santorini residents. Whether it’s because they’ve kept as much of the historic building as possible – including ye olde grape stomping room. Or maybe it’s the commitment to using rare and indigenous grape varieties? Whatever the family’s secret formula, it’s working. Yes, Gavalas exudes a homely winery ambience, but don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll be supping on anything approaching fusty. They’ve invested in some high tech wine making gear to keep standards suitably high. Try the Assyrtiko if you can, Gavalas have some bold vintages.
Orbzii Tips: The winery’s back door leads straight into Megalochori. A small, rustic village that pairs perfectly with this winery.
Search for a Santorini winery with a sunset view and almost all will tell you to pitch up at Santos Winery. But it’s usually booked up by everyone with a smart phone and a taste for a bold red. Our pick? Domaine Sigalas in Oia. Surrounded by grape-filled vines, their terrace benefits from sunset views and a flavour packed a la carte menu – with produce picked from the winery’s garden. Of course, you’re really here for the wine. Which is served after the tour of one of the world’s oldest vineyards. But if you’re not in the market for a sunset – the Degustation menu served at noon is a force to be reckoned with.
Yes, there is such a thing as vegan wine, better still, there’s a Santorini winery that produces vegan wines. Venetsanos Winery has a 30 minute tour you can take to have a peer at the unique architecture of their industrial winery. But it’s the sunset terrace and the hour long wine tasting session that’ll woo you. Especially as the wine tasting comes with added snacks. We recommend the Santorini Venetsanos 2016. Delicate – but with some zesty, citrus tones, it pairs well with veggies. If this is all sounding too idyllic for you, you’ll be suitably affronted by the views over the caldera.
Orbzii Tip: Considering getting married in Santorini? It’s hard not to be wowed by the Venetsanos wedding terrace.
The Triple Threat
Unique among Santorini wineries, Art Space winery has literally carved its own space in the island’s wine scene. Burrowing into the pumice rock, they’ve created a cool spot to lay on art exhibitions for discerning wine buffs. Not keen to stop there, Art Space has preserved the old distillery and winery to showcase traditional wine making in its museum. Add in their fully functioning winery and you’ve got yourself a triple threat. There’s a heavy bias in favour of white wines – and no on site restaurant. They do offer a cheese platter – so all is not lost.
No matter how big your Santorini budget, who among us can resist a bargain. Better still, a bargain that offers you the chance to tour one of the world’s top 10 wine museums attached to one of Santorini’s oldest wineries. 21 years in the making, the museum walks you through the history of Santorini wine, every step of the process – from soil to glass and a glimpse into the life of a wine grower. The tour culminates with a wine tasting – and there’s often a sommelier close by to offer advice. Don’t forget to exit through the gift shop, where you can stock up on wine and local crafts.
Costs: Prices start at just €14 for museum entry, a tasting session (4 wines) along with crackers, chocolate and an audio guide or guide book.
If you’re looking for the best wine tasting experience in Santorini, this is it. And, you don’t just have to take our word for it. Thousands of glowing reviews make this the tour to take. You’ll join a small group for 4.5 hours of wine, cheese and snacks. Which, on paper, could leave you feeling bilious. But, mercifully, there will plenty of breaks along the way. When you’re not tasting wine, you’ll be learning about it. From Santorini’s unique way to grow grapes, the fertile volcanic soils and the three wine types the island is famous for: Nykteri, Vinsanto and Assyrtiko.
For some, their food and wine experience simply means downing a crisp glass of Sauv or three while over stirring a risotto. For others the two experiences are intrinsically linked to form a beautiful partnership on the palette. If that sums up your wine approach, this tour is for you. After a thorough grounding in the history of Santorini and Greek wine at the museum, you’ll head to the vineyards in Pyrgos for an insight into viticulture (winegrowing) and Santorini’s indigenous crops. Clued up and ready to cook, the local tavern has a chopping board and apron ready for you. You’ll then get to sit down and enjoy your creations – along with a glass or two.
Cost: From £249 per person. Private tour.
Whether you’re new to the game or consider yourself quite the accomplished wine drinker, a little expert guidance never hurts. Take this small group wine tasting tour in Santorini, with your very own sommelier on board, and they’ll guide your palette through three different wineries. Focussing on dry white wines, your sommelier will pitch advice and tips based on your knowledge level. So no need to worry about any knowledge gaps! They’ll go into macro-level detail on soil, wind and sun – if that’s what you’re in the market for, or perhaps just an interesting insight into Santorini’s grape varietals.
Cost: From £131 per person.
Scenery with a side of wine
Walking tours are often laden with so many promises it’s hard to tell whether you’re booking a walking tour or leasing a time travel capsule. And yes, this tour does promise a ‘journey back in time’ – but it also promises wine. So we’re in. Because even if we don’t bend the space time continuum during the 4 hours, there will still be wine. To be serious for a second, your 3 mile walking tour does take you to some of Oia’s best bits – worth the cost alone. Santorini’s poster child for idyllic island life, Oia’s a white-washed, hidden and niche-strewn marvel featured in many a holiday brochure.
Cost: £85 per person. Includes a tasting session of 5 award winning wines and small food platter.
Wondering how you’ll cart your new favourite wine home in that tiny carry on? We can’t help you there… but our app can help you Dream, Plan and Book your way to Santorini’s vine strewn landscape.