Wine has been produced in Santorini since ancient times, and being one of the only wine regions to escape the grape phylloxera makes Santorini the oldest wine region in the world. We tasted plenty of wine during our trip to Santorini and visited more than half of the wineries on the island! (Okay, so there are only 9 remaining wineries of the once more than 40.) We’ll tell you more about some of the wineries, including the more than 300 year old family run Gavalas and a bit more modern wineries like Boutari and Sigalas, over the next few Wine Wednesdays (so be sure to subscribe!), but today we wanted to kick off our Santorini series with what I think is the best place to view the famous golden Santorini sunset: Santo Wines Winery.
Most visitors to the island rush to Oia, sitting on the far north end of the island, for sunset. But situated high on the cliff on the outskirts of the Pyrgos village, Santo Wines Winery is practically in the very center of the island and has an amazing terrace with a perfect view of the caldera. The caldera, mostly now submerged, is the part of the island that collapsed and left just a few smaller islands dotting the horizon.
Santorini Assyrtiko is the most common grape and wine on the island and we ordered a glass each to take to a table as we prepared to watch the flaming orange ball dip into the sea. Santorini’s wines are generally very dry, just like the island’s climate, and need food to lessen their bite. Santorini Assyrtiko though is nice and light, perfect for sipping while sitting to watch the world famous sunset. It’s a well-balanced wine with a crisp acidity and long finish.
Santorini receives just 30 days of rain each year; it hasn’t rained since April and it won’t again until November. There isn’t a cloud in the sky and the dust that creates a halo of haze when the sun is high in the sky, now shoots little prisms of fireworks as the sinking orange ball illuminates in fiery shades of orange and pink. The white buildings dotting the cliffs edge turn golden and the hustle and bustle of the tiny island seems to stand still for a few moments in time each evening.
Any local will know the time of sunset, but just in case, you can check the sunset times here.