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Santorini harvests tiny yield following ‘difficult’ vintage

Published:  27 September, 2023

Santorini's wine industry is forecasting a very small production in 2023, after picking a crop that barely managed to reach 30% of the annual average.

According to Volcanic Agriculture of Europe, “Santorini is once again measuring the impact of the difficult weather conditions and the special ecosystem on its vineyards. A combination of natural factors such as winter drought, strong northerly winds when the inflorescences were opening, heavy hail in April and a prolonged summer heatwave led to a particularly low grape production, which reached only 30% of the annual average on the island.”

Santorini has become widely associated with Greece's star white variety: Assyrtiko. In a good year, approximately 2.5 million litres of PDO Santorini wines are produced annually, of which 30-40% is exported.

In light of the severely reduced yield, wineries are expecting price rises across the board.

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“The gradual reduction of the yield per hectare and the increase in production costs from year to year leads to even higher prices of PDO Santorini wines, as the prices of the grapes amount to more than five euros per kilo – when in other regions the corresponding price is fifty cents,” said a representative from VAE.

However, winemaker Nikolaos Varvarigos was confident that the remaining berries would produce exceptional wine.

'The grapes harvested are going to produce wines with particularly high quality characteristics. The bright PDO Santorini wines are expected to have the characteristic profile with aromas of white flowers, citrus and white-fleshed fruit in their youth that will evolve into more earthy wines with the characteristic minerality,” he said.

Many European regions have endured a rollercoaster of heat waves followed by heavy rain this year.

As a result, fungal diseases have caused havoc in 2023.

"This year will be remembered as one of the most challenging vintages, in the south of Italy and particularly Sicily. Between January and June we had an incredible amount of rainfall – over 350 mm above average," says Stefano Girelli, owner of Santa Tresa and Azienda Agricola Cortese.