Thursday, March 23, 2017

Fun activities in Santorini: Wine tours!

Venetsanos Winery vineyard
The island of Santorini is famous for various different things, one if which are the wines that are produced there. Half, if not more, of the island is filled with vineyards, that look amazingly beautiful during summer when they have blossomed. In August, when it is time to gather the grapes, the whole place smells like wine. The reason is that part of the grapes are left to ripe in the sun, so that they could be used to produce the sweet, dessert wine Vinsanto.

Because of such a rich wine making history, and the fact that the island still produces one of the best wines globally, it is only natural for Santorini to have a great number of different wineries. There is the Venetsanos Winery, the Boutari Winery, the Sigalas Estate Winery, the Koutsogiannopoulos Wine museum, to name a few. All located in different areas of Santorini, and with each winery offering a different wine tour and wine tasting.

Wine making machinery at Venetsanos Winery
Taking a wine tour and wine tasting is not just an interesting activity to do when visiting Santorini, alone or with your family and friends, but is also a great idea for a "cocktail hour" at your wedding. Agreeable, a wine tour is not your traditional cocktail hour, but from my experience your guests will find such a tour really interesting, amusing, and unique for a wedding.

Don't wish to have your guests spending too much time in a bus on the wedding day? Arrange the wine tour to be part of your pre-wedding gathering on the island. Your guests would love to visit a Santorini winery anyway, since it is a really popular activity on the island, so why not give them a chance to do so all together? A great advantage of such a pre-wedding gathering, is that your guests will have an interesting topic to discuss on the wedding day! You'll give them the best ice-breaker ever!

My two personal favorite wineries of Santorini are the Venetsanos Winery and the Koutsogiannopoulos Wine museum, each for different reasons:

Wine stating at Venetsanos Winery
Venetsanos Winery is located on the cliffside of Megalochori, over the Athinios port, making a winery with amazing caldera views. The winery was built in 1947 by the Venetsanos family, and it was carved in the mountain. A tour there is really interesting, as you get to learn the history of the place, go through the different cellars and tunnels in the mountain, and get to know how wine was produced there and distributed. They even a corner, which used to serve as an office, where they kept some of the instruments and notes of the founders of the winery.

Of course, as with every winery, you can choose to finish the tour with a wine tasting of the Santorini wines, enjoying at the same time the magnificent views of Venetsanos Winery. A wine expert will describe you how every different wine is made, sharing interesting information about the wine making culture of Thira.

A useful information is that Venetsanos Winery is also available for wedding ceremonies and receptions. Its location is such, that you will be treated with the famous and wonderful views of the caldera. The black volcanic rock, from which the terrace is made, gives the place a unique character, perfect for the "one-of-a-kind" weddings we are all looking for.

The Koutsogiannopoulos winery was founded in the 19th century, and has been ever since producing delicious Santorini wines. The winery is located in Vothonas, on the road to Kamari. Nowadays, it is an astonishing museum, which is absolutely worth visiting when coming to Santorini.

Koutsogiannopoulos Wine Museum's exhibits
What makes this winery so special? Its museum! It is an underground, 8 meters deep, labyrinth like museum (don't worry, you won't get lost). You will dive into the history of the wine making of Santorini, from the very beginning. The cave museum is filled with small cavern like rooms, where you can see the wine making process for yourself. The figurines, used at the cavern rooms, give you the feeling that you have travelled a hundred or more years back, and you are participating in the ploughing, harvesting and stomping of the grapes.

The exhibits of the underground museum are presented in a chronological order, making it easier for you to understand how the wine making culture began in Santorini. To help you understand even better the wine science, you will have the opportunity to see old machinery, which was used in the wine making process.

At the end of the tour, you will have the chance to taste four different Santorini wines, gaining a new appreciation of the hard work of all those people who are involved in the wine making process.

Koutsogiannopoulos Winery offers its premises for a wedding as well. It is a perfect choice, if you love being close to nature, as the winery has a wonderful garden for magical weddings!

Whether you came to Santorini for your summer vacation, for your own destination wedding, or for your friend's wedding, make sure to include in your program a visit to one of the Santorini's wineries. You will most certainly enjoy it, and will leave the island with new and interesting knowledge.

Thank you very much for reading! I wish you a lovely day!

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