Why Santorini’s wine industry is a total basket-case!
There is, in general, a water-shortage on the island of Santorini. People barely have enough to drink and for their daily use. Therefore, there is absolutely no means of irrigation. Inspite of this, the island produces some of the best varieties of tomatoes 🍅, cucumbers, legumes and award-winning wines from its vineyards.
The soil of the island is highly, highly fertile because it is volcanic in nature so a lot of lava, pumice, sand and no organic material makes for an excellent combination in which vegetation can thrive. This soil which is also called “Aspa” is also very porous, therefore when it rains, (which is not very often) the water quickly runs deep down.
It is the dense, wet morning dew that surrounds the island and settles down on it as moisture that is the main source of water for the plants on the island.
Grape Vines have been growing on this island since ancient times. But in a very unique way. There are no grapes hanging from shoulder level frames as you would expect. Wine growers here have perfected the art of teasing their vines into a beautiful basket shape. The grapes hang on the inside of this basket. This protects them from the harsh & strong island winds which also sometimes carry along the sandy pebbles that could harm the grapes. The older the vine gets, the more beautiful and intricate the basket becomes. When they become too old for yield, an offshoot of the same vine is made into a new basket.
So if you are in Santorini and you see a field full of curious plants close to the ground, look for the winery close by – all of them welcome tourists and go taste their Assyrtika Wine ( very dry, lemony wine) and also their sweet dessert wine (made from grapes dried for 2 weeks -almost raisins so to say) called the Vinsanto – goes best with Creme Brûlée they said; and that distracted me. Creme Brûlée always has that effect on me!