Venetsanos Winery: Wine, Views & Sunsets
When you visit Santorini, you cannot possibly leave before you taste the local wines. And there are plenty of wineries to go to. But, wine tasting is more than just wine. It is about the environment around you, the views. It is an experience.
And Venetsanos Winery is surely an unforgettable wine experience.
Venetsanos Winery: The History
The winery was designed and built in 1947 by George Venetsanos with the help of Georgis Saliveros. It is 9.5 m (31 ft) high and consists of four different levels.
It operated until 1967 and then remained closed until 2014. After George Venetsanos passed away in 2004, his nephews took over and started rebuilding the winery. On the 5th of March 2014, Venetsanos Winery opened its gates and started bottling wines again after 47 years.
You can now enjoy a wine tour to the premises of the old museum and a wine tasting of various high quality award winning wines.
Plus you can enjoy the astonishing views from the winery.
Venetsanos George: The Man Behind The Winery
George Venetsanos was born in the early 1900. During the war, his family moved to Egypt, but they later sent George back to Athens to study chemistry.
He graduated with an honors degree and specialization in oenology and he never stopped developing. Besides chemistry, he was also passionate about architecture, linguistics, writing and medicine.
After the war, he decided to combine his two passions: wine and architecture. And so, in 1947 he started building a winery, that was about to become the first industrial winery on Santorini.
Venetsanos Winery: The innovative architecture
Venetsanos winery is carved into the cliffs just above the port of Athinios. Because of the steep cliffside, the winery had to be built in an unusual way, starting from the top and then continuing to the foundation. The building was designed to take advantage of gravity, compensating for the lack of electricity at the time.
It was constructed in four different levels, each one designed for a particular stage of the vinification process. The inclination of the soil ensured the natural flow of wine from one level to the next. You can feel the inclination when walking through the winery.
Starting from top to bottom here are the four different levels. This is now the museum-part of the winery that you will visit:
On the first level are the scale and the grape containers. White and red grapes would be weighted and then separated into two different containers. The grapes would then flow down to the second level.
On the second level you find the manual paddles for the destemming process and the generator. After stems have been removed, huge pipes would transfer the grapes to the third level. Again this would be done with the help of the soil inclination.
On this level today, you can see some personal belongings of George Venetsanos, his study and his small chemistry lab as well as some family photos.
On the third level you see the pressing machines. Through the pipes, the grapes were moved to the press and were then transferred to the fermentation vats. The white grapes would go on the right and the reds on the left.
This is the level where wine tasting takes place nowadays. There is also a lovely terrace just outside.
On the fourth level are the fermentation vats. This is a tunnel 17 m (55.8ft) long. The wine would be fermented here and shipped when ready.
An impressive detail is that the wine would actually be shipped from the port, which is just below Venetsanos Winery. There were pipes in which the wine would flow down all the way to the port and put into the barrels that were on decks.
This genius way made the production and shipping of the wine lot easier in an era that when electricity was scarce and there were no roads or cars on the island.
Venetsanos Wines: The varieties
When visiting Venetsanos Winery you can enjoy the breath-taking views of the caldera, you can take a small tour to see the old winery and you can also enjoy a glass of wine (or more).
Wine tasting is available and you can choose to taste as many wines as you likes.
For white wine lovers, there is Santorini and Nychteri. For red wine lovers there is Mandilaria. For a lovely rosé try Anagallis and last but not least there is a dessert wine called Liastos. This is like Vinsanto wine that you might know. If you don’t know, then maybe it is time to find out.
Venetsanos Winery: The views and sunsets
A picture might be worth a thousand words, but in this case even a thousand words would not enough to describe the beauty of this place. This is why you would have to visit it yourself. You can visit all day long.
Plus, Venetsanos Winery also has great sunset views. Like this one:
You can see the location of Venetsanos Winery on the map here:
You can read TripAdvisor reviews for Venetsanos Winery here.
Big thank you to George Doulos for helping me with this article.