Santorini is justifiably famous for its epic views. But did you know that the Greek island has epic wineries too? Discover the best Santorini vineyards plus two excellent Santorini breweries.
Eating great food in Santorini, Greece’s most popular caldera, is great fun for food travelers. But the stunning South Aegean isle also offers stunning wineries and top notch breweries for those who make appreciate great wine and beer.
While most Santorini vineyards and breweries are located away from the cruise excursion trail, they’re all accessible by car or bus. And, for those not interested in renting a car or taking a bus, Santorini has a myriad of tours that will take care of the pesky logistics.
What Is Santorini Wine?
Greek wine may not be as famous as wine produced in countries like Italy, France and Spain. However, the Cyclades-based isle produces good stuff.
And, while you may feel like an oenophile explorer after your Santorini wine tasting experience, the truth is that Santorini wine is nothing new. In fact, it’s been around for more than three millennia.
Santorini wine producers have challenges that transcend the island’s volcanic soil. The island’s temperatures are high, it’s windy and there’s way more sunshine than rain. The producers also have rewards since Santorini grapes are notable for their intense flavors and higher than average levels of acidity.
Despite or perhaps due to the island’s volcanic land and arid climate, Santorini farmers have been growing some of Greece’s best wine grapes for over 3,000 years. Not only does the volcanic soil create interesting taste profiles, but it also protects the grapes from diseases like phylloxera.
As we learned during our Santorini wine tour, the most common Santorini varietal is Assyrtiko which represents 78% of the white varietals grown on the caldera. Wines from the ancient grape stand out for their hints of citrus and floral notes on the nose and excellent acidic flavors. Other indigenous grape varieties include Aidani, Arthiri & Mavrotagano. Then there’s Vinsanto, Santorini’s luxurious dessert wine exclusively made with late-harvest grapes.
The only way to find your favorite Santorini wine is to taste as many of them you can – preferably at the source.
The Best Santorini Wineries
We recommend the following wineries as you plan your Santorini itinerary:
Venetsanos Winery (Megalochori)
Carved into the cliffs just above the port of Athinios, Venetsanos Winery’s sunset terrace is the ultimate spot for tasting wine in Santorini. The views of the island’s caldera and nearby islands are nothing short of breathtaking.
Constructed in 1947 and more recently renovated after being closed for decades, Venetsanos has been offering wine tastings and tours at its unique winery sine 2014. Venetsanos also has a museum for guests who want to learn about the winery’s storied history.
We shared a four-glass tasting during our sunset wine tasting experience. It included pours of 2018 Santorini (Assyrtiko), 2018 Nykteri (Assyrtiko), Anagallis (Aidani, Assyrtiko and Mandilaria) and 2016 Vinsanto (elixir of the gods).
Although we arrived by car, other guests we met had taken the bus from Thera (also known as Thira) to the Megalochori winery. Whether you drive, take the bus or splurge on a taxi to get to Venetsanos, the magical cliffside view from the Southeast corner of the caldera is worth the effort.
Make an advance reservation to ensure a sunset viewing for your tasting.
Venetsanos Winery is located at Caldera Megalochori, Santorini Island 847 00, Greece.
Domaine Sigalas (Oia)
Drinking wine at Domaine Sigalas’ Oia winery is a relaxing way to explore the breadth of Santorini wine. Not only does the winery grow estate grapes on its 37 hectares to produce 300,000 bottles each year, but it also purchases additional fruit from 100 local farmers.
Founded in 1991, the winery, located on the gentle slope on the north side of island, offers wine tasting experiences and food pairings for visitors. During our visit we sat surrounded by rows of vines in the field. We tasted six-glasses of wine while enjoying a lunch of Dakos salad with barley rusks, tomato, Chloro cheese, capers, olives and oregano.
Our tasting included the following wines: Am (Assyrtiko and Monemvasia), Santorini (Assyrtiko), Kavalieros (Assyrtiko), Ean (Mandilaria), Mm (Mandilaria and Mavrotragano) and Vinsanto (Assyrtiko and Aidani). Santorini and Vinsanto both qualify for PDO status. They were all great as was the salad.
Schedule a tasting to fully experience Domaine Sigalas and its wines.
Domaine Sigalas is located at Baxes, Oia, Santorini 847 02, Greece.
Santo Wines (Pyrgos)
Santo Wines is a popular winery that offers wine tastings with epic views of the caldera. Founded in 1947 as a cooperative, this Pyrgos winery is the island’s largest with more than 1,000 wine-growing members. Visitors to Santo Wines can take a tour and watch an informative documentary in the winery’s oenotourism center.
When we visited, we skipped the documentary and headed straight to the wine bar. We enjoyed two five-glass flights with a variety of white and red wines along with a sampling of local cured meats, olives and barley rusks. Since it was already dark, we focused on the wine instead of scenery and selfies.
Book a tasting via Santo Wine’s online reservation system.
Santo Wines is located at Pyrgos Kallistis 847 00, Greece.
Additional Santorini Wineries
Visiting our favorite Santorini wineries will give you a solid introduction to the island’s wine. Consider visiting one or more of the additional wineries if you’re planning a self-guided Santorini wine tour:
The Best Santorini Breweries
Sometimes we’re satisfied with drinking mass-market beers like Mythos and Fix but sometimes we want more. Thankfully, with two excellent breweries on the island, Santorini has joined the craft beer movement
Santorini Brewing Company (Episkopi Gonias)
Famous for its donkey logo, Santorini Brewing Company sells its beers in many of the top Santorini restaurants. (We spotted the brewery’s distinctive beer bottles at three different eateries.) Founded in 2011, the small craft brewery brews its beer in Santorini with a focus on quality.
We met co-owner Majda Anderson when we visited the brewery for a beer tasting. Anderson shared that the brewery produces more than 100,000 liters each year, some of which are distributed abroad to the US, UK, Japan and Switzerland.
Equally important, we tasted three beers during our visit – Yellow Donkey, Red Donkey and Lazy Ass Donkey. We also bought a t-shirt as a fun Santorini souvenir.
You can buy t-shirts and bottles of beer when you visit the brewery for a tasting.
Santorini Brewing Company is located at Mesa Gonia, Santorini 847 00, Greece.
Volkan Beer (Thira)
Located in Thira, the brewers at Volkan Beer add local ingredients like lava rock filtered mineral water and grape honey to its craft beers. The Santorini brewery currently produces four different beers – blonde, black (dunkel), white (lager) and grey (wheat).
Volkan on the Rocks is the best spot to drink all of these beers. The best part of drinking here is that you can drink Volkan beers with one of the island’s best views. Be sure to taste all four beers to find your favorite flavor.
Pair your beer with tasty food when you visit Volkan on the Rocks.
Volkan on the Rocks is located at Firostefani, Thira 847 00, Greece.
Santorini Wine FAQs
Santorini is famous for its crisp white Assyrtiko wine. It’s also famous for its sweet, rich Vinsanto dessert wine.
Santorini wines are relatively expensive due to the limited number of bottles produced each year. The island’s wine production is limited by its geography and climate.
The top Santorini wineries include Venetsanos Winery, Domaine Sigalas and Santo Wines.
Yes. Reservations are a must for both tours and tastings at Santorini vineyards. Another option is to schedule a wine tour.
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About The Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on their website 2foodtrippers. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.
Original Publication Date: June 19, 2023