Author Topic: Santorini grapevines  (Read 1984 times)

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Offline Maik

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Santorini grapevines
« on: Monday, 13 January, 2014 @ 17:39:29 »
Santorini, Greece: Fine vines among the fiery volcanoes

The fat grapes of Santorini, like the withered denizens of northern Europe, thrive on sunshine, but in summer, like pale-skinned tourists, they can get too much of a good thing, particularly on a porous island where water is so scarce residents have been known to gather the morning dew.

The winemakers of this Greek outcrop long ago found a unique solution to this problem, with the result that, as well as breath-catching sea views, black-sand beaches, spectacular sunsets and an abundance of the kind of restaurant that stations a man outside to entice you in and doesn’t blink twice at an order of omelette and chips, Santorini boasts its own grape varieties and an ingenious method of cultivating them despite the intense heat and lack of shade. Or water. Or peace and quiet, given that this is a 30-square-mile island with two volcanoes.

The thick, woody vines are persuaded to coil round on themselves, like baskets. The leaves sprout skywards, while the grapes nestle within, protected from the sun and the island’s strong winds, and so low to the ground that minor seismic activity won’t unsettle them. The result looks less like a vineyard than a field’s worth of bad hair days.

The grapes themselves are indigenous, and very old: the Greeks taught the Romans to make wine. Assyrtiko is the one to look out for.