Along with other adapted horticultural species, Santorini’s vineyards cover a surface of 1400 hectares. The cultivated vines are stretched from the sea level to the caldera cliffs of 250m of altitude. The archeological statements show that viticulture was already present on the island in the 17th century B.C. (vineyard devastated by the volcanic explosion around 1600). From 1200 B.C. to today, there has been a continuous cultivation of vines.
Today, more than 50 white and red varieties of grapes can be found on the island. As for the white ones, Assyrtiko (covering 80% of the vineyard) Aidani and Athiri are those participating in the AOC Santorini, dry white wine and in the AOC Vinsanto, dessert white wine. Red regional wines are also produced from the varieties Mandilaria and Mavrotragano.
The viticulture on Santorini features a special pruning system of the vines, with the aim to protect the grapes from harsh climate conditions. This system results in a very characteristic basket-shaped vine called “kalathi” or “niabelo” in the local dialect.
All the vines on the island are not grafted, since the sandy soil offers Phylloxera tolerance. Today on Santorini we can find 10 professional wineries, along with many other house cellars.