Search Recently viewed: View all
Santorini Wines - Santorini Wine Making History
wine barrels

Santorini has a long tradition on wine making. From prehistoric Thera until today, viticulture has been one of the most important activities of the inhabitants of the island. Wine making was a procedure that was celebrated and involved the whole community.

Wine Making History

Each mansion had its own wine cellar - kanava at the ground floor, where the wine would be made. The preparations started in the middle of August. Equipment, kanaves and baskets would be cleaned; the same would be done to the terraces, as this is where the grapes would be spread to sundry.

The vintage - vendema started end of August-beginning of September. Men and women were gathered to the vineyards to collect the grapes. They used a special knife called ferentini. The grapes were transferred by donkeys to the kanaves and they were separated to the pressing vats - patitiri depending on their color.

It was mainly the men who trampled the grapes. They would put a sprig of basil behind the ear and someone would fan them in order not to get dizzy from the fumes of the must. The pressing was also a chance for a feast, so musicians would come and people would gather to celebrate.

The must flowed into the tank from a hole - afla, where a basket was hanging for letting nothing but the juice fall into the tank. When the tank filled, they transferred the must into the barrels. Whatever remained in the vat was put in a wooden pressing machine and was squeezed until even the last drop of grape juice was taken.

The remains were put in a tank, where they would boil. This is how they produced tsikoudia, which could reach even 90% alcoholic content. A special license was needed in order to be allowed to produce it and a state officer was responsible for locking and unlocking the tank. The production of tsikoudia lasted 2 days a year and was also an opportunity to celebrate, especially for the young people.

Nowadays, the wineries of Santorini are equipped with advanced technological equipment, like pneumatic presses, stainless steel tanks and temperature control vats. However, they are not disconnected from the past and they often use traditional methods in the process of their wine making.

Baskets with grapes Patitiri Tsikoudia making