While at Megalochori, we visited Katsoyannopoulos Vineyard for wine tasting. The vineyards of Santorini date back almost 5000 years and are believed to be the oldest in Europe. Volcanic eruptions left behind a mixture of volcanic ash, pumice stone and pieces of solidified lava and sand, which together make up the soil of Santorini. This soil, rich in essential minerals, result in wines with low pH level or high acidity.
Lack of rain coupled with constantly blowing sea-winds has resulted in vines being grown in the “koulara” method, that is, they are woven into continuous circles to form a basket. This protects the vines ion from the strong winds and the harsh summer sun.
After viewing the vines, we visited the Wine Museum showcasing history of wine and the life of vine-growers in Santorini from 1660 to 1970. It was followed by wine tasting where we tasted four vines – two red and two white. The white wines from Santorini are bone-dry with a distinct aroma of citrus combined with hints of smoke and minerals from the volcanic soil. The dessert wines are sweet with aromas of crème, chocolate and dried apricots.
From Megalochori, we drove to the northern tip of Santorini and reached the village of Oia (pronounced ia). It is considered to be the best sunset viewing location on the entire island. Oia is one of the most beautiful and picturesque villages of Santorini, situated atop an impressive cliff. It offers a spectacular view over the volcanoes of Palia and Nea Kameni and the island of Thirassia.
Like the other Greek villages and cities, cobblestone paved lanes led us through the village to its Western end. Both sides of the lanes are lined with shops selling jewellery, paintings, gifts, etc. There are many taverns, cafes, and restaurants too.
We visited the Church of Our Panagia Platsanis located in the village centre. It was originally constructed inside the walls of the Castle of Oia. The church was rebuilt in the village center, on higher and more stable ground following the earthquake of 1956.
The sun then turned to myriad shades of pink and purple as it went down into the Aegean Sea. Sunset over water is often both spectacular and sublime. It’s just that we often wait until we reach Greece or some such similar destination to realize how incredibly beautiful it is. After watching the sunset and dinner, we retired to our beds after a tiring day of walking in the hot sun.