If you’re lucky enough to find yourself staying on the dreamy Greek island of Santorini, I can’t recommend enough taking the time for wine tours. The island boasts over forty indigenous grape varieties and twenty wineries, but there are a couple of Santorini wine tours that really stood out for me.
But before I dive into my wine tour recommendations, I’ll say that Santorini wine is unlike any I’ve experienced. Thanks to the island’s volcanic soils and Mediterranean climate, Santorini wines taste light, fruity, crisp, mineral-y, acidic, and with a hint of salinity. The best part? Virtually no hangovers thanks to its low levels of congeners, sulfates, and sugar.
I highly recommend buying wine straight from the Santorini wineries for the best prices. You’ll pay up to double if you purchase these wines at restaurants (trust me, we learned the hard way). But without further ado, here’s my favorite Santorini wine adventure!
Anydro Tour: Best Santorini Wine Tour
Cost: ~$162 per person
Duration: 5 hours
Note: Tour format and tour guide can vary
The Anydro Wine Tour is really a walking history tour, cooking class and wine tasting tour all combined into one. Learn how to cook an authentic and delicious Greek meal, taste some of the most iconic Greek wine, visit an organic local farm, and explore the ancient streets of the quaint Megalochori village.
In my opinion, the real stars of this tour are the incredible tour guide (Ana) and…the tomato! Yes, you visit an organic tomato farm and learn just how incredibly versatile this “fruit” really is. It makes up the base of most of the dishes you learn how to cook – from flavor-packed sun dried tomato pesto to sweet, creamy tomato puree over Greek yogurt. Even for the tomato haters out there, I swear this’ll convert you.
We kicked off our wine tour with a quick lesson on why, and how, vineyards on Santorini can survive the Mediterranean island climate. A small tour bus picked us up from our hotel and drove us to the traditional village of Megalochori, home to many of the oldest vineyards.
Santorini grapevines are grown very low to the ground and slowly shaped into circular baskets. The basket design protects the vines from the harsh island winds. The porous, volcanic-based soil captures the water from the island’s humid air and the basket design allows these vines to more easily absorb the water. It’s a practice that goes back to Ancient times and the most unique way I’ve seen to create outstanding wines.
Visit the Gavalas Winery
Head to one of the oldest wineries on the island, Gavalas Winery in Megalochori. Do a handful of wine tastings and learn how Assyrtiko grapes are the staple grape of the island. Greek olives and cheese are served as a nice palette cleanser in-between wine tastings. Ana will teach you the basics of traditional winemaking techniques and answer any questions you may have.
Head next door to an authentic wine cave that was used to store and preserve Greek wine hundreds of years ago. Now, it’s only used on wine tours to showcase the Santorini wine making methods of the past.
Explore the Streets of Megalochori
Escape the tourist crowds and step back into ancient times as you walk around the streets of this traditional village. Ana explains why the houses are built the way they are, how the volcanic soil played a critical role in the creation of these houses, and the reasoning behind their iconic white walls and bright blue rooftops.
Make Dinner at Anydro Farm
Get your hands dirty and your tummy full as you learn how to cook an authentic Greek meal including tomato fritters, fava salad, fried eggplant and more. Obviously, you’ll kick off this cooking class with a nice glass of Santorini wine!
The cooking class is hosted at Anydro Farm, which is actually owned by one of the host’s families. The farm is known for producing delicious organic products, particularly tomato “caviar” paste. Even my boyfriend who hates tomatoes was blown away by the flavor and freshness–he has officially converted into a tomato fan 😉
Enjoy your amazing home-cooked meal at a beautiful outdoor picnic table where you can watch the sunset. Our tour guide, Ana, taught us so much about the island, its history, and what she recommends doing while visiting Santorini.
Stop for Local Pastries or Ice Cream
On the bus ride back into town, stop at the local convenience store for homemade pastries or ice cream. Many of the pastries can stay good for a couple of days so don’t be afraid to snag a variety!
You’ll also have time after your wine tasting to purchase wine at the Gavalas Winery if desired. As one of the most popular Santorini wineries, chances are high that you’ll end up trying a Gavalas wine at a restaurant anyways.
Depending on your group size and budget, you can opt for a shared or private wine tour. We had a pretty small group (4 of us) and another couple joined us for a total of 6. This felt like the perfect group size; our tour bus was full but not too full, and we enjoyed making new conversation with the other couple during our sunset dinner.
Second-Best Wine Tour: Art Space Winery
Cost: $15 Euros per person (tour guide waived fee since we bought wine)
Duration: 45 minutes
The Art Space Winery is a wine museum and art gallery in the quiet town of Exo Gonia. It’s off the beaten path–you won’t find tourist swarms here. This is one of the best wine tours because this wine is extremely sought-after, but they only sell bottles to overseas patrons. To taste all of these high-class wines is quite the privilege!
Tour the Traditional Winery
Explore the maze of caves that have been helping locals make and store volcanic wines for centuries. See the underground grape-stomping holes and traditional wine-making equipment.
Roam the Art Museum
The art museum is intertwined throughout the wine caves and gives the caves a very chic feel. Art items are for sale if you’re interested in taking home some authentic Santorini art.
Do Some Top-Notch Wine Tasting
Try a variety of wines, from dry to sweet, and discover the different flavors of Santorini. Our group ended up having a box of wine shipped to the United States, so our guide waived the tour fee.
What's Your Wine Tour Style?
Do you prefer a small, private tour that involves more wine drinking than anything else? Or perhaps you want a more adventurous tour that explores other aspects of Santorini culture and life.
These are two of the best wine tours because they are so much more than a wine tour; they are immersions into the ancient culture of Santorini. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start your wine tour, Santorini edition!
Check out my ultimate 5-day Athens itinerary if you’re looking for more Greece adventures!