Aegean Islands

Aegean Islands

From 35° 00' 00" N to 37° 30' 00" ° N


From 23° 00' 00" E to 27° 00' 00" ° E




about this region

The Aegean Islands, scattered across the shimmering waters of the Aegean Sea, boast a rich and storied history of wine production that dates back thousands of years. Comprising a group of enchanting islands, including Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, and Samos, this region is renowned for its unique winemaking traditions, diverse grape varieties, and exceptional terroir.

Wine production in the Aegean Islands is deeply ingrained in the local culture, with winemaking techniques passed down through generations. The islands' volcanic soil, Mediterranean climate, and cooling sea breezes create an ideal environment for cultivating grapes that yield distinctive flavors and aromas in the wines produced here.

Among the most famous Aegean wines is the Assyrtiko of Santorini, a white wine grape variety known for its mineral-driven character and vibrant acidity. This grape thrives in the island's volcanic soil, which helps it retain moisture during the hot summer months. In addition, Santorini is one of the most important productive sub-regions in the Aegean Islands. However, according to a report by the Union of Santorini Cooperatives (Santo Wines) during 2021 the grape harvest yield was less than 2000 tons, which represents 30% less than the average of previous years. Despite this, the white wines obtained from that harvest reflected a high level of acidity, combined with the characteristic minerality of Santorini's soils, which is an indicator of the high quality of the wines obtained during that year.

In Rhodes, winemakers produce the sweet Muscat of Rhodes wine, made from the Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains grape variety. Samos is celebrated for its luscious dessert wines made from the Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and Muscat of Alexandria grapes, cultivated on steep terraced vineyards.

The winemaking process in the Aegean Islands combines traditional practices with modern technology. Vineyards are often small, family-run operations that nurture the grapes with great care. The harvesting process, often done by hand, ensures the selection of the finest fruit.



Vineyard Hectares



2,500 - 3,000

growing degree days

Discover Terroir

The Aegean Islands wine region encompasses a group of enchanting Greek islands scattered across the sparkling waters of the Aegean Sea. This diverse viticultural landscape includes islands such as Santorini, Paros, Samos, and Rhodes, each contributing to the region's rich winemaking heritage.

The region's Mediterranean climate is characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The islands enjoy abundant sunshine during the summer months, allowing the grapes to ripen fully and develop complex flavors. The cooling influence of the Aegean Sea helps retain the grapes' natural acidity, contributing to the balance and freshness of the wines. The northerly winds, known as "meltemi," further regulate the climate, reducing humidity and providing ventilation that promotes healthy vine growth.

The volcanic history of some islands, such as Santorini, has left a profound impact on the soil composition of the Aegean Islands wine region. Volcanic soils, rich in minerals and porous in nature, provide excellent drainage, encouraging deep root growth and enhancing the vines' resilience to drought. In other areas, the soils may include limestone, schist, and alluvial deposits, each adding its distinctive influence to the wines.


The Aegean Islands have a rich diversity of grape varietals and wine styles, each influenced by the unique terroir and winemaking traditions of the individual islands.

Most Planted White Grape Varieties:
  1. Assyrtiko: This is one of the most famous grape varietals in the region, especially in Santorini. Assyrtiko is a white grape known for its high acidity, mineral-driven character, and citrus flavors. It is used to produce dry, crisp, and refreshing white wines.
  2. Aidani: Another white grape variety commonly found in the Aegean Islands, Aidani, contributes to floral and aromatic wines with a touch of fruitiness.
  3. Athiri: Athiri is a white grape that is often blended with other varieties to produce smooth, medium-bodied white wines with floral and fruity notes.
  4. Malagousia: Malagousia is an aromatic white grape variety indigenous to Greece, known for producing wines with intense floral and citrus aromas.
  5. Muscat: Muscat grapes, including Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and Muscat of Alexandria, are widely grown in the Aegean Islands, particularly in Samos and Rhodes. They are used to produce sweet and luscious dessert wines with rich floral and fruity aromas.
  6. Vilana: This white grape variety is often found in Crete and is known for contributing to light and crisp white wines with citrus and herbal notes.
Most Planted Red Grape Varieties:
  1. Mandilaria: Mandilaria is a deep-colored, tannic red wines with flavors of red fruit and spices.
  2. Mavrotragano: This is a rare red grape variety that is indigenous to Santorini. It is known for producing intense, full-bodied red wines with rich berry flavors and spicy notes.
  3. Agiorgitiko: Agiorgitiko is a red grape variety native to Greece, valued for its versatility in producing both rich, full-bodied red wines and lighter, fruity rosés.
  4. Liatiko: Liatiko is a red grape variety primarily found in Crete, Greece, often used to create smooth and aromatic wines with notes of red fruit and spices.

A wide variety of wines are produced in the Aegean Islands, each of them reflecting the characteristics of the different types of soils found in this fruitful region.

The wine styles produced in the Aegean Islands vary from dry and crisp whites, with Assyrtiko as the star, to medium-bodied reds with strong regional character, often produced from indigenous grape varieties.

However, among the great offer of wines it is necessary to highlight three in particular, which are a must try if you decide to visit the Aegean Islands. On the red wines side, one of the most remarkable is the full bodied Mavrotragano, which stands out for its soft and palate friendly tannins. On the other hand, two of the gems among the white wines are Assyrtiko, a distinctive wine with crisp acidity and a unique saline touch, and Malagouzia, a medium-bodied wine very aromatic and balanced.

  • Mavrotragano is one of the most notable red wines produced in the Aegean Islands, especially on the island of Santorini. Mavrotragano wines are deep-colored, with intense aromas of dark berries, cherries, and spices. On the palate, Mavrotragano wines are rich and full-bodied, with smooth tannins and a long, lingering finish. These wines often exhibit earthy and mineral notes, reflecting the volcanic soil of Santorini, one of the regions that stands out for high-quality Mavrotragano wines.

This type of wine pairs exceptionally well with grilled meats, especially lamb or game dishes. The wine's robust flavors complement the savory and smoky notes of the grilled meat, while its acidity balances the richness of the dish. Additionally, Mavrotragano can be enjoyed with aged cheeses and dishes featuring tomato-based sauces.

  • Assyrtiko is undoubtedly the star of the Aegean Islands' white wines, particularly on the island of Santorini. These dry white wines have a distinctive minerality and refreshing acidity. Assyrtiko wines often showcase delicious flavors of citrus fruits, green apples, and hints of sea salt, reflecting the Aegean Sea's influence on the vineyards.Assyrtiko wines pair harmoniously with a wide range of dishes. Its crisp acidity makes it an excellent companion to seafood, particularly fresh grilled fish, shrimp, and oysters. The wine's mineral character also complements dishes with Greek olives, capers, and herbs, as well as grilled vegetables and Greek salads.
  • Finally, Malagouzia wines are very aromatic and elegant. This type of wine exhibits floral and tropical fruit aromas, such as peach, apricot, and citrus blossoms. On the palate, Malagouzia wines are medium-bodied with a balanced acidity and a lingering, aromatic finish. This type of wine is delightful when paired with lighter dishes, such as seafood pasta, grilled chicken, and vegetable-based dishes. It also harmonizes well with Mediterranean cuisine, including dishes with herbs, garlic, and olive oil.

The Aegean Islands' red and white wines are a celebration of the region's rich heritage and unique terroir. Whether savoring a robust "Mavrotragano" red or enjoying the refreshing minerality of an "Assyrtiko" white, these wines offer a sensory journey that perfectly complements the vibrant flavors of Mediterranean cuisine.

Additionally, the islands are renowned for their sweet Muscat-based dessert wines, which showcase the region's winemaking expertise and the unique characteristics of the terroir. Overall, the Aegean Islands offer a diverse range of wines that reflect the distinct flavors and traditions of each island within the archipelago.


< 600 m


400 - 600 mm


The soil in the Aegean Islands wine region is primarily volcanic, with limestone, schilt and alluvial soils in some areas.

top varietal

Mandilaria, Mavrotragano, Agiorgitiko, Liatiko, Assyrtiko, Athiri, Athiri, Malagousia

History of wine

The history of the Aegean Islands is a tapestry woven over millennia, with a rich heritage dating back to ancient times. These enchanting islands, scattered across the Aegean Sea, have witnessed the rise and fall of numerous civilizations, each leaving a lasting impact on their culture and identity.

The earliest evidence of human presence in the Aegean Islands dates back to the Neolithic era, around 7000 BC. Ancient settlements such as Akrotiri on the island of Santorini reveal the advanced societies that once thrived in the region. During the Bronze Age, around 3000 BC, the Cycladic civilization flourished on islands like Paros and Naxos, producing intricate marble figurines that still captivate archaeologists and art enthusiasts today.

During the Bronze Age, the Minoans of Crete and the Mycenaeans of mainland Greece exerted significant influence over the Aegean Islands. They engaged in trade, building fortified settlements, and fostering cultural exchanges with the islanders. The volcanic eruption of Santorini, circa 1600 BC, impacted the entire Aegean region, potentially contributing to the decline of the Minoan civilization.

From the 8th century BC onward, the Aegean Islands wine region played a crucial role in maritime trade, connecting Greece with the wider Mediterranean world. Islands like Samos, Lesbos, and Chios were renowned centers of learning, philosophy, and the arts. The Classical Period witnessed the blossoming of democracy and Greek culture, with contributions from famous figures like Pythagoras and Epicurus.

In 146 BC, the Roman Republic conquered the Aegean Islands, integrating them into the Roman Empire. The islands experienced a period of prosperity and cultural exchange. In the 4th century AD, the Byzantine Empire succeeded the Romans, and Christianity became the dominant religion. Monasteries and churches adorned the islands, leaving behind exquisite religious art and architecture.

During the Middle Ages, the Aegean Islands experienced various rulers. The Venetians, after the Fourth Crusade, controlled several islands and left their mark on the architecture, fortifications, and culture. However, the Ottoman Empire gradually expanded its rule, eventually dominating the Aegean Islands by the 16th century. Ottoman rule persisted until the Greek War of Independence in 1821.

The Greek War of Independence led to the establishment of the modern Greek state, including the Aegean Islands, as part of Greece. Throughout the 20th century, the islands experienced periods of growth, economic development, and increased tourism, preserving their ancient heritage while embracing modernity.