Greece: the cradle of Western civilization, where democracy, political science, mathematical principles etc. and the secret of good living were born. Greece is also the land of Dionysos, god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine.
Over the last decades, Greek winemakers have been working hard to improve the quality of their sunny wines. Therefore, Greece is now considered the “new European wine country”, able to compete with famous wine destinations such as Italy. Moreover, the Aegean islands, with a real winemaking tradition, have been producing numerous quality wines. Winerist has selected for you the best wineries to visit on the Greek islands going from Crete to Santorini, and through Sikinos and Paros.
1. Lyrarakis winery is a family-run winery implanted in the mountain village of Alagni in Crete. Their 14 hectares’ vineyard concentrates rare Cretan grapes varieties. Thanks to this focus, the winery is recognised as one of the best on the island. They offer tours and tastings in the summer period to discover the ageing in oak barrels, try local cheeses and, of course, taste the wine!
© Lyrarakis for Winerist
2. The story of the Douloufakis winery started in 1930. Dimitris Douloufakis first established the wine producing company in Dafnes, Crete. Passed down from generation to generation, the grandson, Nikolas, is now looking after the estate. His vision for the winery is to promote innovation and quality upgrading. The winery opens to wine tourists all year round and offers “courses” about grapes varieties, history of Cretan vineyards as well as wine tastings.
3. Manousakis winery is perfectly located in the small village of Vatolakkos, Western Crete, where “wine is a way of life’. The winery started in the early 90’s with the determination of one man: Theodore Manousakis. The great combination of soil and sun has created the exclusively organic Nostos wines. They also produce their extra virgin olive oil and their own Tsikoudia, a local aperitif with therapeutic powers also called Raki. You can book tours, lunch, cooking classes or tastings to discover more about the winery.
4. 10 hectares of vineyard forms the Hatzidakis winery in the centre part of Santorini island. From the early premises in the late 90’s, Haridimos and Konstantina have been concentrating on producing organic wines. They believe that the Santorinian soil has a lot of secrets to reveal. Therefore, over the years, they have been trying to enrich and broaden the grape varieties to improve the character of their wines. Visits and tastings can be organised by appointment at the winery.
5. Domaine Sigalas is located near Oia, at the northern end of Santorini island. The Sigalas family has won several awards for the quality and richness of their wines. They offer a global and unforgettable wine tasting experience where wines are served with some of the most famous food of the Cyclades. Wine lovers can enjoy a tour of the property and relax with an exquisite dining experience while watching the sunset.
6. By the eastern seaside of Santorini, Gaia wines has converted an ex tomato-factory into a charming winery. They produce four main wines locally - the Thalassitis, the Thalassitis oak fermented, the Vinsanto and the Assyrtiko - and a sweet but yet aromatic exclusive vinegar. With a unique panorama, they open to the public in the summer months for tours and tastings.
7. Manalis winery is located on Sikinos island, known in the Ancient Greece as the “island of wine”. They produce three different fruity wines and a sweet “aperitif” wine. The recently opened winery offers unmissable food and wine tastings with breathtaking views. You can stroll around the vineyard to learn more about the terroir and the native vines before enjoying the Manalis blends.
8. Located on the island of Paros, Moraitis winery was founded in 1910 by Manolis Moraitis who was trading with mainland Greece using his own ship. Since, the know-how of winemaking has been passed down from generation to generation to reveal the terroir of the island in every bottle produced. The freshly renovated winery offers wine tourists the possibility to visit the wine museum, wine cellar, vineyard and taste their wide range of wines.