The Raw Beauty of Santorini

Santorini  7-day Wine-tour holiday. July  21st to July 28th 2014 £897, not including flights, but tell us you’re interested and we’ll keep you posted with flight deals we find.

 

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I went to Santorini for a week to explore the potential for a wine tour and stayed there for two. I had become totally enchanted with the island.

I was awestruck by its raw beauty and awestruck by the adversity inflicted on its inhabitants by Nature and the way they have used that adversity to their advantage, particularly when it comes to growing vines.

Santorini  is the Greek equivalent of Pompei. A volcanic island that has suffered repeat eruptions and destruction through the ages, the towns of a 6500 year old prehistoric civilisation, preserved by lava for posterity. I was fascinated to see a shop complete with intact storage jars or “pithoi” and windows .  Archaeologists  surmise that this was a sophisticated bartering centre where workers on boat building, ceramics, farms etc, were paid for their work in flour, oil, wine, and other needs on their shopping list.

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 Coins did not evolve in Greece till around 600 BC. (source Wikepedia).

As the whole island is covered in volcanic lava, there is no clay soil on which to grow vegetation. The earth consists of pumice stone (solidified volcanic ash), flint and stones. This pumice stone which the Greeks call “elafropetra” (light stone), has preserved Santorini’s vines from the Phylloxera plague that destroyed almost all French vines and subsequently most other vines in Europe in the 19th century.  In these European countries new vine stock had to be imported from America. In Santorini original vines have been preserved and although the branches are closely pruned each year, the roots are ages old, often 100 or 200 years, but sometimes 300 and even as much as 400 years!  Ask yourself where a grape’s flavour comes from – the roots or the braches/leaves and you will see why Santorini has become famous for its unique and exquisite wines. Another tough condition for Santorini wine growers is a shortage of water on the island. There just isn’t enough water to carry out irrigation of crops. Here again the pumice stone, remnant of those destructive volcanoes, has come to the rescue.  It absorbs the morning dew like a sponge and feeds the vine with its life-saving water supply throughout the day – not a lot, but enough to sustain the vines. The same incidentally applies to Santorini’s unique, and very tasty, cherry tomatoes.

A fascinating aspect of wine-growing on the island is the low height of the vines.

Vines_at_Hatzidakis 

There are often strong winds in Santorini and these would destroy normal vines. The islanders have developed a technique of trailing the vines within small baskets. The grapes grow on the inside. This means low yields which in turn adds to the quality.

So what do we have in store for you on the wine-tour we have put together? Well we start with a week for £897 per person based on two people sharing. The hotel, the Nostos , is in Kamari, a short taxi-ride from the airport and overlooks the beach. A light breakfast is included.

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We want to offer you a good balance of wine-touring and holiday fun, so during your week we’ll take you wine-touring on three days and to a superb supper at Oia at sunset time on the last evening.

We plan to take you on a “History and Wine” day where you will visit prehistoric  excavations at Acrotiri (not to be confused with the RAF base in Cyprus) and hear how wine was produced on the island 6500 years ago. We’ll take you to three wineries where you will taste twelve different wines including the much famed dry Assyrtiko and the sweet dessert wine Vinsanto made without any additives or fortification but from more ripened Assyrtiko grapes that have been sun-dried (to ripen them even further).  We’ll take you to a restaurant lunch accompanied of course by wine from Santorini.

On a separate day, we’ll take you to a different winery and also to a cookery class – Santorini style, under the tutelage of a Greek Chef. And you’ll enjoy the fruits of your efforts in a traditional restaurant at the end of the class.

On a third day we’ll take you to the Koutsoyiannopoulos wine museum and winery plus at least one other winery.

There are a lot of holiday activities available in Santorini and we’re going to leave you plenty of time to enjoy these too. We definitely recommend  a three-island trip to the volcanic island of Nea Kameni  (newly burnt – created by the volcanic eruption of 1573 AD) , the hot springs at Palia Kameni (old burnt) – created by the volcanic eruption of 197 BC and the third island – Thirasia. Check out our Facebook Album on these.
A day trip to the nearby island of Ios with its sandy beaches is also rather fun.

The first four people to book this tour by 30th September 2013 will be entered into a prize draw for one of these two trips FREE.

The climax of the holiday will be the last evening when we will invite you to join us for dinner at the very elegant  Fanari restaurant in Oia and have a superb meal accompanied by three different Santorini wines while watching Oia’s famous sunset .

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If flying from the UK, you will be pleased to know that there are direct flight from the UK to and from Santorini.

To find out more about our “Santorini Wine Tour” Click Here

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