The Union of Santorini Cooperatives, SantoWines was founded in 1947 as the voice of the hundreds of grape growers on the Greek island of Santorini. Today, it is the largest agricultural organization on the island, representing all of the cultivators and growers with over 1,200 active members.
The growth of global popularity of Santorini wines and their high quality are directly linked to the efforts of SantoWines. In 1971, they were responsible for the creation of the PDO for Santorini Assyrtiko and Santorini Nykteri, the traditional wine styles of the island. It was in 1985 that the first bottling of PDO Santorini was made under SantoWines.
SantoWines is known for producing several distinct, spectacular examples of the island’s famous native grape – Assyrtiko. In addition to the fresh, vibrant style that is most known, Santo also produces a Traditional Method Sparkling wine, multiple Reserve level bottlings, and their barrel-fermented “Grande Reserve” Assyrtiko, which has received 95 points from Robert Parker Wine Advocate.
In addition to Assyrtiko, SantoWines leads the protection and cultivation efforts for other indigenous grape varieties – Aidani, Athiri, Mavrotragano and more. Santo is also the leading producer of Vinsanto in Santorini. This ancient style of wine was first recognized as a PDO wine in 2002 and is created by sun-drying the grapes and long barrel-aging. Vinsanto from Santorini is one of the world’s best examples of naturally sweet wine.
As the leading voice on the island, SantoWines works with all of its grower members to invest in the ongoing development of cultivation and vinification techniques, while it aims at the preservation of biodiversity through the operation of a nursery of autochthonous varieties. Further, Santo Wines has led the organic viticulture and wine production movement on the island, producing several beautiful examples of organic wines.
In addition to being a wine production facility and hub for the thousands of growers on the island, the SantoWines Wine Tourism Center is one of the most visited sites on the island. This center, dedicated to wine, local farming, gastronomy and the culture of Santorini, hosts over 600,000 visitors from around the world each year to take in the incredible views, attend private events, and learn more about the traditions of Santorini wines.
SantoWines produces some of the most dynamic and distinctive wines in the world, utilizing the indigenous grape varieties and techniques of the island, highlighting the very special, volcanic soils that make the wines of Santorini a great addition to any wine lover’s cellar.
Assyrtiko is a grape that should become an international star