Growing grapes on the side of a volcano began on the island of Santorini where the vines have thrived continuously for the past 37 centuries. Santorini is a unique place with steep cliffs plunging into the sea and is known for its legendary eruption in 1600 BCE and for the reputation of its wine.
Santorini is one of the most renowned and surprising terroirs in the world. Its complex volcanic soil does not contain any organic matter making the vines immune to phylloxera infestation.
The vines on the island are trained low into a traditional basket shape in order to protect the grapes from direct exposure to sunlight and the fierce winds. Training and pruning are very difficult tasks performed only by experienced specialists. All the work in the vineyard needs to be done by hand due the difficult terrain. Despite the dry climate of Santorini, during the night, humidity is captured by the soil and absorbed by the plants.
The Santorini vineyards are self-rooted and the most low-yielding all over Greece (12-14hl/he). Threatened by the expansion of tourism, the scattered vineyards have stabilised at around 900 hectares. Approximately 1,000 grape growers cultivate only local grape varieties. The white grape Assyrtiko dominates, occupying about 75% of the total area.