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Santorini: Vined & Wined
Santorini's terroirs and climate allow certain indigenous vine varieties to flourish. Follow our writer Despina Pavlaki as she discovers the history and nuanced flavours of Santorini's unique wines.
36D 23' 35.36", 25D 27' 41.43"
Coordinates redefined
36D 22' 56.25", 25D 25' 53.90"

The unusual basket shape vine protect the grapes from the fierce winds and heat of the island. Image Christos Drazos

Let’s take a moment to contemplate Santorini. Before I launch into a diatribe about the thoroughly heart-clenching sunsets and mind-blowing geography, I’d like to insert a little nugget of personal information in this narration here: I was born and bred in Greece, yet I still consider the moment I was acquainted with this wondrous little island an experience chiseled into my memory –much as Fira appears to be sculpted out of the same soil it stands on, rather than gingerly placed upon the rocks by some genius hand. All this to say I was thrilled to be back.

Sunday 11th October, 2015
22°C, Mostly Sunny​
In the bag: Faber-Castell Perfect pencil, Shadows in the Vineyard by Maximillian Potter, Préparation Parfumée Figue en Fleu
36D 27' 49.71", 25D 22' 36.38"

Ride in slow motion. Photo by Christos Drazos.

I was expecting a lot of Santorini –mainly to be introduced to the local beaches I know very little about, since I like my Greek islands with a side of winter weather– but what I wasn’t expecting was to be vined and wined instead. Reluctant to be torn away from my little piece of heaven at Canaves, a fairytale villa that seems to be floating on a flawlessly photoshopped ocean of blue, I was only convinced to budge at the promise of a fairytale castle. And I can assure you, that’s not the only miracle I was about to behold on that very intoxicating trip.

36D 22' 56.25", 25D 25' 53.90"

Shaping the flavour. Wine aging barrels. Photo by Christos Drazos.

36D 22' 55.04", 25D 25' 49.81"

Holy grapes. Photo by Christos Drazos.

The aforementioned castle has now been transformed into a wine fortress, a stronghold of viticultural tradition that has propelled Santorini at the top of every oenophile’s bucket list. Yes, the terroirs are striking and the heritage diverse, but what I liked most about the Venetsanos Winery is that it’s not exclusively aimed at vine & wine lovers, yet it magically transformed my beer-loving self into a fine wine enthusiast quite literally on the spot! Acclaimed local grapes, including Assyrtiko, Aidani and Athiri, have been nurtured by local vineyard owners for almost a century in unorthodox and mysterious ways.

Wine 
Closer, In the Market, 1998

Touring the local wineries didn’t just reform my palette, it also triggered my entrepreneurial spirit, although I admit I missed out on some tidbits of information due to the owners’ remarkable proficiency in always keeping my glass full! But here’s one bit I like to tell people when I want to show off: due to lack of rainwater, which disappears before it can be put to good use, locals weave a wicker basket in a circle and place it over the vine overnight. When the sea mists roll in, they settle on the inner side of the basket forming dew, which then trickles over the leaves and irrigates their precious crops. Now if I could only devise an equally genius method of getting all the bottles I bought through customs…

Credits

Words
Despina Pavlaki

Photos
Christos Drazos

Music curator
Chris Ouzounis

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