I’ve wanted to visit Santorini since Levar Burton went there on the PBS show Reading Rainbow. It’s not only renowned for its beauty; its history is spectacular. From wikipedia:
Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island, and created the current geological caldera. A giant central, rectangular lagoon, which measures about 12 by 7 km (7.5 by 4.3 mi), is surrounded by 300 m (980 ft) high, steep cliffs on three sides. The main island slopes downward to the Aegean Sea. On the fourth side, the lagoon is separated from the sea by another much smaller island called Therasia; the lagoon is connected to the sea in two places, in the northwest and southwest. The depth of the caldera, at 400m, makes it impossible for any but the largest ships to anchor anywhere in the protected bay; there is also a fisherman’s harbour at Vlychada, on the southwestern coast. The island’s principal port is Athinios. The capital, Fira, clings to the top of the cliff looking down on the lagoon.
The island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption (sometimes called the Thera eruption), which occurred some 3,600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of metres deep and may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, 110 km (68 mi) to the south, through a gigantic tsunami.
This is what it looks like now – you can see the caldera, out of which a new island is rising because of volcanic activity.
The first thing we visited was ArtSpace winery. We’d heard amazing things about their wine, but the place was nearly empty when we arrived. It wasn’t just the off-season: the owner just got back from a long vacation the day before. But he was kind enough to open up the place on our behalf, and give us a personalized tour.
The wine is entirely organic, and made using natural methods. The owner took great pride in describing many of his innovations and distinctions, like the use of gravitation, temperature control, and aging.
Naturally, we did a tasting, and the wine was spectacular. Santorini is known for its wine – the volcanic rock, dry climate, and native grape varieties all lend themselves to unique and intensely flavorful wines. Yet his were unquestionably the best we had there. We bought several bottles.
Instead of calling a taxi, we decided to walk to our next destination, SantoWines. It was up the hill to the lip of the Caldera- a beautiful walk, even if it was raining and kind of icky outdoors.