Santo Wines, a cooperative, is by far the largest wine producer on the island with a total annual production of 500,000 bottles.

The cooperative was first established in 1911 as Santorini Wine and Vine Protection Fund, but the winery to house the Union of Santorini Cooperatives, representing the island’s cultivators, with more than 1000 members, wasn’t built until 1951 it was relocated in its current premises in 1992. Nowadays, the enterprise is undergoing rebranding, separating into Santo Wines and Santo Taste, the latter of which will deal with PDO ( Protected Designation of Origin) products from the island, including the island’s famed cherry tomatoes, the yellow split peas used to make fava, and Santorini capers, all of which can be purchased from the winery’s large deli shop.

The impressive modern building stands near the cliff edge close to the village of Pyrgos.

It is surrounded by terraced vineyards, the traditional method of growing grapes on Santorini. Every year, the winery welcomes more than 900,000 visitors from around the world, eager to try their excellent wines and dine there as well. The views from the restaurant tables are absolutely breathtaking; it’s hard to imagine a better setting in which to sample the island’s unique wines than this spot, which overlooks the deep blue waters and the volcano out in the bay.

The grapes are sourced both from the privately owned organic vineyard from which the varietal Aidani, Athiri and Mavrotragano wines are produced and from the growers who belong to the cooperative. The winery also rents additional land, planted with Assyrtiko, which they maintain using sustainable agricultural methods.

The gravity-flow winery, one of the largest in Greece, employs all kinds of containers, from stainless steel tanks to amphorae. It is run by its dedicated chief oenologist, Nikos Varvarigos, who has worked at Santo for the last 33 years. The wines are constantly evolving, offering an amazing range of styles – everything from sparkling to still, and from dry to semi-sweet to sweet. You’ll find more traditional wines, such as the Nychteri or the Assyrtiko Grand Reserve, as well as a lighter version of both the sparkling wine and the typical Santorini Assyrtiko.

In Santo Wines store you can buy wine, food, gadgets

In the winery’s cellar, there are 225 French barriques in which red wines from the varieties Mavrotragano and Mandilari are aged (from one to two years, depending on the label); the barriques also hold the Assyrtiko Grand Reserve, which comes from vineyards more than 100 years old and ages for a year in the barrel. Οne of the winery’s most cherished labels, Irini (derived from Saint Irini, the holy woman for which the island of Santorini is named), is aged for 18 months in barrels in this cellar. The label Irini was first released to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Santo Wines. The winery’s sweet dessert wine, known as Vinsanto, is also barrel-aged in the cellar; it is aged for a minimum of three years.


100% Αssyrtiko, which undergoes second fermentation in the bottle. Aromas of white-fleshed stone fruit, green fruit and hints of dough. Round and balanced on the palate, with refreshing acidity leading towards a long mineral finish. It is a perfect aperitif wine, and pairs nicely with seafood, particularly shel-fish.

Τhe classic Assyrtiko from Santorini, with an expressive nose full of lemon and grapefruit aromas. Dry on the palate, with crisp acidity under- lined by a mineral, zesty and fruity taste. The finish reveals layers of citrus and stone fruits and an extra salty sea-breeze character.

Every year, the best tank of Santorini Assyrtiko wine is left to further age on its fine lees. The wine has a medium body with a rich oily mouthcoating texture, refreshing acidity and nuances of flint, iodine and salt over a core of fresh citrus and orchard fruit. It pairs ideally with seafood dishes featuring either shellfish or fish.

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Made according to traditional methods, it contains three varieties: 85% Assyrtiko, 10% Athiri, and 5% Aidani. It is barrel-fermented in oak barrels and ages in them for six months. Expect flowery aromas on the nose, along with fruits like peach and pear. On the palate, it is dry, with crisp, refreshing acidity. This Nychteri goes great with grilled or fried fish, and white meats.

Τhis is an oaky expression of Santorini’s unique terroir. The grapes come from a 100-year-old vineyard in the area of Akrotiri. The wine is aged for a year in second and third-use French oak, followed by another twelve months ageing in the bottle. It is a full-bodied wine, with aromas of dried nuts, honey, herbs, tea, vanilla and toast. Serve it with fish, grilled white meat in cream-based sauces, and red meat cooked with herbs.

One last Assyrtiko, this one comes from a single 80-year-old vineyard in the area of Megalochori. It is aged for a year in amphora vats on the lees, leaving it with aromas of mature fruit and a pronounced minerality. Enjoy it with seafood dishes.


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