Union of Santorini Cooperatives - Santo Wines
There is archeological evidence supporting cultivation of the vine on Santorini dating back almost 5000 years. However, it was the devastating volcanic eruption, circa 1600BC, that created the Santorini we know today. The explosion left behind a mixture of volcanic ash, pumice stone, pieces of solidified lava and sand which together make up the singularly unique soil of Santorini known as “aspa”. Assyrtiko, one of the noble white grapes of Europe, is the main grape variety grown on the island. All PDO Santorini wines must include at least 85% Assyrtiko while other native varieties can also be included.
Santorini is believed to have the world’s oldest, continually cultivated, vineyards on earth. Because of the extreme microclimate of the island which includes strong winds, very low rainfall and intense summer heat, the vines are pruned in circular baskets, called “kouloura” and grown directly on top of the soil. The grapes are then trained to grow inside the baskets for protection from the strong winds and sun. The volcanic soils have virtually no organic matter, but are rich in most essential minerals, creating wines with a great acidity and the classic mineral character Santorini wines are known for.
Union of Santorini Cooperatives, also known as Santo Wines, was founded in 1911 to protect and develop the unique agricultural history of the island. With 1,200 active members, Santo Wines is committed to safeguarding the local traditional viticulture and winemaking techniques with the goal of maintaining sustainable agricultural practices and the unique biodiversity of the island. The Cooperative maintains a plant nursery with over 30 local grape varieties in order to preserve the island’s viticultural heritage and allow for experimentation of native Santorini varieties.
Hectares of vineyards
of vinified grapes / year
Bottles produced / year
is the main grape variety of the denomination
decrease in production in the last 10 years “due to climate change”