Wine tasting Santorini by Golden Ibex
Feel the moment, get involved with the people you are with, enjoy the environment you are in, get the most out of the best wine tasting tours in Santorini.
Experience life at its fullest here in Santorini. The so-called jewel of the Aegean Sea. Santorini, is worldwide famous for the breathtaking caldera views, the magical sunset, the fascinating minimalistic architecture, the exquisite gastronomy, and of course its volcano. Experience all the above by joining the best tours for wine tasting in Santorini and wander around one of the most ancient vineyards of the world. Visit wineries famous not only because of their wines but also because of their new sites. Also, you will enjoy wines perfectly matched with local delicacies. Follow us to a game of senses and see what living life at its fullest means here in Santorini.
The locals of the small volcanic island of Santorini were always famous in Greece for their wine knowledge. Generations after generations were cultivating the island’s volcanic slopes. They planted with vineyards, the so-called kouloures (baskets), or ampelies (vines). They used to produce them and then sell their wines overseas. Having Santorini, a small island of the Aegean Sea, feeding with its wine the markets of Russia, Italy, and even France, means a lot. Hence, that is why the island used to be full of Canaves, meaning small family-owned wineries. With the years passing by, most of them closed and disappeared. That is why Santorini is very popular amongst wine enthusiasts and is a very celebrated oeno touristic destination.
Wine tasting – History and Traditions
Santorini, up until the second millennium BC, was a place where human civilization was thriving. The archeologists at their sites have discovered an abundance of vessels used to carry wine dating from that era. The last supervolcanic eruption, the so-called Minoic volcanic eruption, was so violent that it changed the island’s face and wiped out all human life. But as part of Earth’s regeneration circle, that eruption enriched the soil with a large layer of new volcanic materials and compounds. Centuries later, the famous Spartans inhabited the island, and with them, the art of winemaking came back.
Blessed with ancient vines and a winemaking tradition that goes back thousands of years. Santorini holds a special place in the wine world the you can discover by joining our Wine tasting Santorini tour. The 3.500-year tradition in vineyard cultivation. The 850 growers of the Viticulture Co-operative maintain nowadays wine production. They tend to the island’s 3750 acres of vineyards (which represents about 1/3 of Santorini).
What makes the island of Santorini so unique and ideal for wine tasting?
It is the unique ecological system, created by the continuous explosions of the local volcano and its lava. Its diffusion has burned the rocks and made the land absorbent porous and rich in porcelain. The topology based on the steps technique preserves the soil for agricultural exploitation while at the same time, reduces water loss. The peculiar micro-climate of Santorini, with the extreme lack of rain, the high temperatures, and the high night humidity, in addition to the fresh sea breeze and the volcanic soil of the island, make Santorini one the most incredible places to create wines of very high quality and ideal for wine tasting.
The island has more than 65 indigenous grape varieties, but three were the most commonly used for winemaking, the prestigious Assyrtico, and then Athiri and Aidani. The island locals follow their unique pruning system called the basket (in Greek koulouri), where they give to the vine the shape of the basket with the grapes growing inside the basket, fully protected from the strong winds and the sun. Whoever visits the island during summer gets amazed by the vibrant colors of the vines that flourish from the island’s black and red volcanic soil, a true homage to life. Golden Ibex’s best Santorini wineries tours, will take you through all the unique features of this fantastic island.
The secret of successful grape cultivation on the island
The phylloxera louse didn’t affect our vineyards. The phylloxera is incredibly destructive pests that attack grapevines. The island’s aged vines are trained in the shape of a basket, called Kouloura, to protect the grapes from winds that can exceed 80 kilometers per hour and create a small pocket of humidity on an island with scarce rainfall.
Nowadays, wineries still use the same indigenous grape varieties. After 2000 years of being cultivated and without getting destroyed by Phylloxera disease ( which cannot advance because of the lack of clay on the soil), these grape varieties have gotten perfectly adapted to the environmental conditions. The very high quality of the raw materials, in addition to the years of winemaking experience matched with the modern methods of today, has given the wines of Santorini a place amongst the most prestigious wines of the world. The island’s wines are a journey in time and space, from the multi-awarded dry whites to the historical and delicious dessert wine Vinsanto. Santorini wines tours are a journey full of aroma and flavors.
In a global context
Santorini is the driving force of the Greek wine industry in the demanding export markets. Wine professionals worldwide have lauded Assyrtiko’s virtues. It’s the first Greek grape variety to be planted in other countries like Australia, South Africa, and Italy by quality-minded wine producers. From a global perspective, Santorini has raised the image of Greek wine, gaining respect and acclaim.
However, a significant concern is the price of Santorini’s wines. More specifically, costs are rising every year, with increases in domestic market prices of up to 80% over the last six years. In more detail, the wine’s price is mainly attributable to the rise in the grapes’ cost. From 0.85 euros/kg in 2010 to 5 euros /kg in 2019. Also it is tied to the increase of the producers and wineries on the island, from 13 in 2010 to 20 in 2019. Bearing this in mind, during your Santorini wine tasting, you could buy a mixed case or two for cellaring. It might end up as a wise move. It will certainly payback in terms of enjoyment.
Shall we introduce you our wines?
Of course, you can enjoy them during the best Santorini wine tasting tour, served alongside local food paring:
Different than the other whites wine grapes, indigenous to the island’s volcanic ash-rich soil. It has a transparent yellow-gold skin and juicy flesh. The main characteristic (minerality) takes center stage allowing for the aromas of honey, herbs, and fruits to develop with aging. Assyrtiko does not lose its acidity even if it is very ripe. With its citrus flavors, rich in alcohol matches perfectly with seafood, lobster, or charcoal-grilled fish. Try it in one of Golden Ibex’s wine tasting.
Thus its name from the Greek word “nychta,” which means “night.” A traditional white wine produced from extra mature Assyrtiko grapes. A high alcohol wine (more than 14%) comes from late-harvest and stomping of the grapes during the night. Furthermore, extended aging in oak barrels gives you more intense minerality and fruity juices. A wine that pairs beautifully with grilled squid, fatty fish, or white meat.
The almost extinct variety of red grapes that covers less than 2% of the Santorini vineyards. Oak maturation in barrels gives you intense red color with sweet red fruit aromas, full of Mediterranean summer herbs. Tannic characteristics offer you a long aftertaste and incredible volume in the mouth. High-ranking in alcohol matches with red meats, eggplant stuffed with mince, spicy lamb meatballs in tomato sauce.
The classic natural sweet dessert wine, an ancient winemaking tradition that dates back thousands of years. By law, we must make the wine using a minimum of 51% Assyrtiko grape. Moreover, we make the dessert wine from late-harvested grapes that we have sun-dried in the sun for 14 days. Crushed and fermented and then aged for a minimum of 36 months in oak barrels.
Known for its golden-orange to dark amber coloring with a complex bouquet of dried apricots, golden raisins, and other dried fruits combined with sweet spice and an underlying minerality. Will pair with chocolate, savory cheese (such as Roquefort), or some prosciutto.
A unique tour of wine tasting on Santorini:
During our tour, we will make a wine tasting trip back in time.
In the beginning, we will stroll inside small traditional villages. We will walk the same alleys where the pirates used to rattle their efforts to steal Vinsanto for their journeys. We will visit Gavalas Winery, a multi-awarded winery with a winemaking history of 300 years. Moreover, it is the only winery in Greece where they still stomp on the grapes. After seeing the old historical site and taste its wines, we will visit Estate Argyros, a winery state of the art.
The winery wine experts will show us the entire winery, from the vineyards to the production area. They will explain to us everything about the winemaking methods they follow. After that, the degustation will occur inside a marvelous cellar door. The expert will guide us throughout a beautiful food and wine matching experience. Whites match with delinquent Aegean cheeses, reds with spicy salamis, and dessert wines with dehydrated fruits. Never forget also the chocolate made out of Vinsanto, the absolute pleasure of the palette. And that’s not all.
Last but not least, it will be our visit to the traditional village of Pyrgos. This is the town with the highest altitude of Santorini and a protected area of UNESCO since 1995. On top of Pyrgos, we will discover the ruins of the old Venetian castle named Castelli. Ultimately, that’s from where we will gaze at the beauty of the small jewel called Santorini.
Santorini wine tasting reviews
To experience the best wine tour, we have selected an excerpt from the review of our guest Mr. Hitchkok.
“While visiting Santorini for a week, we wanted to tour the wine-growing areas and see some vineyards. Also to visit the winery where they produce the wines. We found an excellent tour thru Golden Ibex Events & Tours. They arranged to pick us up at the hotel and took us via private van to the first winery. Furthermore, this brand new winery was located on the beachside of Santorini. It was immaculate and had just opened recently.
Our Tour Guide Akis being a local islander, was full of information. He gave us a full wine tasting tour in the winery’s new showroom. We saw how the grapes vines are laid in a circle on the ground instead of on arbors to allow them to capture any moisture that may come their way. Later on, we had bought some of their excellent wines. We then took the van to another area where Akis lives, and he gave us such a personal tour. It was unbelievable, right at sunset. He guided us thru streets and allies that only he could have known. We came upon an old and unique winery, Gavalas Winery. There, we once again tasted the wines and enjoyed the local winery history.
The winery was located in the middle of the village and was so unique; we could not get over it. Akis then guided us thru narrow pathways to the very top of the village. There, we had an excellent view of the beautiful sunset. As it began to darken, we were greeted by locals on their way to an evening dinner. There, they could share their favorite wine and enjoy such a beautiful setting.”