Nikos Varvarigos, SantoWines Chief Oenologist and Head of Production, reports from Santorini:
2017 harvest started a week later than in 2016, meeting the average starting date of the last decade in Santorini. The grapes matured on time leading to the following calendar:
|BEGINNING OF HARVEST||VARIETY (type)|
|2 August||Assyrtiko (white)
For the sparkling version from plots in Pyrgos village.
|3 August||Athiri (white)|
|7 August||Assyrtiko (white)|
|9 August||Mavrotragano (red)|
|9 August||Voudomato (red)|
|17 August||Aidani (white)|
|19 August||Mandilaria (red)|
All varieties from all the plots were handpicked and transferred to our winery by 25 August.
Weather conditions during the year:
- Winter: Cold with sufficient rain. From September 2016 to July 2017, the total rain depth reached 249 mm (in comparison to 199 mm for the same period in 2016 vintage).
- Spring: Hot with lots of rain in March and lighter rainfall in April and May.
- Summer: Extreme heat at the end of June until the first days of July. Gentle winds followed (rest of July and August) with lack of humidity.
Overall, the sufficient rainfall during the year had offered great energy to the vines. The cold winter led to a later flowering and berry growth. The rain contributed to the excellent vitality of the grapes. The initial predictions were talking about a production reaching the average volume recorded in the island. However, the heatwave in late June – beginning of July negated the earlier estimations, fortunately without any impact on the quality of the unaffected grapes. Until harvest time, the gentle winds together with the lack of humidity were beneficial to the maturation of the grapes leading to concentrated, healthy fruits. Sugars maintained a relatively high level per variety, yet with no extreme increase in alcohol content.
The vitality of the grapes was exquisite this year thanks to the conditions during wintertime. Unfortunately, the growth cycle was interrupted by the extreme heatwave in late June that affected a significant part of the crop; grapes were sunburned and consequently dehydrated. The outcome was a decrease in the volume of the total production, which luckily did not have an impact on the quality of the grapes left.
It must be pinpointed that the damage could have been greater if not for the traditional “kouloura”; the basket-shaped pruning method applied by the local vine growers had safeguarded the grapes to a significant extent, proving their huge importance especially in the extreme conditions frequently met in Santorini.
The total 2017 production reached 2,200 tons approximately showcasing:
- A 26% decrease in comparison to 2016
- A 45% decrease in comparison to the average Santorini production
Winemaking and estimations for the quality of 2017 vintage:
So far, the vintage demonstrates potential for high quality wines. While fermentation is almost done in all tanks, the results are very good.
2017 Santorini wines are expected to be intensely aromatic and pleasant.
- Bouquet of white flowers, citrus like lemon and grapefruit, and white-fleshed fruit like melon, white peach and pear.
- Kicking acidity on the mouth combined with the trademark Santorini minerality.
- Rich and intense flavors.
The alcohol content varying from 13.5-14%, the total acidity, which depending on ripeness degree is estimated to range between 6.4 – 7.0 gr / lt (expressed in tartaric acid)-, and the pH level between 3 – 3.2, indicate a vintage with high ageing potential.
2017 vintage is special for SantoWines as it coincides with our 70-year anniversary.