Santorini's white wines and Vinsanto are among the best wines in Greece today. But the ongoing tourism boom on the beautiful crater island is taking its toll: water is becoming scarce, the vineyards have been shrinking for years - and in the remaining vineyards there are only extremely low yields with a hard struggle against wind and drought.
The most beautiful first encounter with the Santoríni archipelago and its world-famous main crater island of Thíra is for the visitor who slowly sails on a ship into the caldera, the magically attractive collapse cauldron of the gigantic volcanic eruption around 1645 BC. In addition to Mediterranean dreamy and touristy villages, a ruined city over 3500 years old, whitewashed houses and small chapels with their blue domes, the view of up to 300 metres high, reddish-black crater walls, which continue just as deep into the water-filled caldera, is particularly fascinating. Of the island once known as "Strongyle" - the "Round" - what remained after the great eruption was a crescent-shaped island arc only 16.4 kilometres long and between 1.3 and six kilometres wide: What it once lost in substance, the island gained in fragile beauty.Today's tourist magnet - formerly called Kallistí, the most beautiful of the Cyclades - also has a unique wine culture, however. It finds its archaic image in a form of vine training that has nothing to do with the usual European order of vineyards: The vines duck into the soil of the plateaus between lava boulders like scattered birds' nests to protect themselves from wind and weather. Their branches are twisted in a circle after the annual spring pruning; the resulting shape of the bushy vines is reminiscent of baskets, wreaths or large, twisted curls - "kouloura.