Vedema – The Wine Harvest
Live like a local! Join our wine harvest
OUR WINE HARVEST EVENT
If you’re looking to experience a traditional wine harvest event in Santorini, look no further! At Aegagros Caldera Houses we offer free-of-charge participation in our annual “Vedema”, as Santorini’s wine harvest is locally known.
You will appreciate the intricate work behind harvesting the vine trees while learning about the island’s unique conditions that yield Santorini’s celebrated wine varieties. Stomping through the grapes is the most fun part of the process, carried out as a celebratory event, complete with glasses of wine and delicious local nibbles, all free, in the true sense of hospitality.
The backdrop couldn’t be anything else but the glimmering blue sea and Santorini’s volcano, as our vineyards enjoy one of the most beautiful views on the island.
Participating in our wine harvest is your chance to fully experience an ancient celebration of community and culture that embodies the true spirit of Santorini in the most authentic way.
- Participation: free of charge
- Service available for bookings 15th-25th of August
- Duration of event: throughout the day
- Location: Aegagros Caldera Houses vineyards
VEDEMA: SANTORINI’S WINE HARVEST
From the end of July, the vineyards of Santorini are swarmed with workers harvesting the ripe grapes. The numerous wineries of the island operate day and night, receiving load after load of grapes, for stomping or sun drying. The end of the wine harvest season in Santorini ends well into September.
“Vedema” is derived from the Venetian word “vendemma”, which literally translates into “grape harvest”. Still used in the local dialect of Santorini, it is one of the many remnant words dating from the times of the Venetian rule of island (1207-1580).
In Santorini, you will witness an ancient technique pruning system. The vines are trained in a basket shape, locally known as “ambelia” or “kouloura”. The hand-formed basket of vines grows along with the vine tree, thus protecting the delicate fruit from the harsh winds and sun.
Harvesting starts before dawn, when the grapes are still fresh by the morning dew. The harvest is done exclusively by hand, with the help of a special curved knife, the “feredini”. The grapes are carefully placed in handmade wicker baskets or crates and are pressed and drawn off within the same day. After fermentation, the wine is aged in oak barrels. Barrels are traditionally opened on the 22nd of October, the celebration day of St Averkios, with festivities.
Although Vedema takes place during the peak of the tourist season, the vine harvest is a highly anticipated event throughout Santorini, bringing whole families together. A joyous event, for both visitors and locals.
SANTORINI’S UNIQUE WINES
Viticulture and winemaking in Santorini has been practiced for millennia, as archaeological finds clearly suggest, especially the ones at the ancient site of Akrotiri. The great eruption of Santorini’s volcano in the 17th century BCE, put an abrupt stop to Santorini’s viticulture and wine exports, with few –as it is believed- ancient vines surviving the lava flows. The colonisation of Santorini by the Phoenicians (~ 11th century BCE), brought new wine making practices that remained unchanged until today.
The most well-known, traditional wine of Santorini, is the Vinsanto. This naturally sweet white wine is produced from a mixture of white and red wine grapes, dried under the sun. Fermentation is succeeded with the use of local yeast, without any addition of alcohol. It is barrel-aged for years before bottling and once tasted, it remains unforgettable. It is low in alcohol and rich in aroma, with spices, honey, raisins and lemon flower tones. Served cold (6-8C), it is best enjoyed alone or with fruits and sweets.
Along with the Assyrtiko, Aidani and Athiri dry white wines, Vinsanto boasts Santorini P.D.O status (Protected Designation of Origin).