The World’s Best Vineyards 2022 have been revealed, with three of Greece’s most beautiful vineyards gracing the list.
Each year the World’s Best Vineyards reveals the most amazing vineyard experiences – a unique snapshot of the best wine tourism destinations from across the globe.
The featured destinations have received votes from the experts who create the rankings of World’s Best Vineyards to form a list of the world's top wine tourism destinations. The resulting database of celebrated vineyards form a collectively a diverse range of destinations from modern architectural wonders, UNESCO-protected ancient cellars, Michelin-starred restaurants, and small, family-run wineries where the owners conduct the tours.
The World’s Best Vineyards 2022 were revealed at an event in Mendoza, Argentina last week, where Antinori nel Chianti Classico in Tuscany, Italy, was crowned World’s Best Vineyard.
The 2022 list includes more countries than ever before with all six continents featured.
It also includes exciting first-time entrants from Greece as well as India and Bulgaria – highlighting the recent growth in wine tourism.
Andrew Reed, of organiser William Reed, commented: “The World’s Best Vineyards highlights wine tourism destinations around the globe and now that travel is back on the cards, this year’s list is more important than ever for raising profiles with tourists and those looking for authentic and unique trips.”
The World’s Best Vineyards in Greece 2022
The history of the viticulture of Greece wine country goes back to the Mycenaean era in the 16th century BC. Wine played an important role in Greek culture.
Wines together with vines and grapes were considered not only a gift from the god but the symbolic interaction of gods with the earth with the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, and fertility, being Dionysus.
The Greeks are among the very first in the world who traded wine as a valuable commodity. The famous port city of Monemvasia on the Peloponnese peninsula in the late Middle Ages under the rule of Venice was a widely used hub for sweet wines from the Aegean, from where they were shipped to many European countries.
A country still known for its winemaking today, three of Greece’s most beautiful wineries were named The World’s Best Vineyards in Greece 2022, including Estate Argyros in Santorini, Ktima Gerovassiliou in Epanomi, and Domaine Sigalas in Santorini.
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The Argyros family may own the largest private holdings of vineyards on the Greek island of Santorini but the goal has always been to produce the very best wines, not the most.
Focussing on the island’s leading grape, Assyrtiko, fourth generation winemaker Matthew Agyros oversees organic farming across the estate, established in 1903, where the average vine age is 70 and the oldest are over 200 years old.
The winery, by contrast, was completed in 2016. Designed by local architects Nikos and Frantseska Tsebelis, it combines some familiar Santorini elements with a decidedly modern aesthetic. The wines now benefit from a temperature-controlled, gravity-fed facility while visitors can enjoy the double-height tasting room for the feast of local food - and, of course, wine - that awaits.
The inimitable vines of Santorini are trained to grow in basket shapes close down to the ground to protect against the fierce winds that embattle the tiny volcanic island - they are unlike any other in the world, and so it’s not surprising that visits to Argyros start here. But a guided tour will also enlighten you to the family’s firmly held philosophy honouring each and every vine.
You’ll then explore the winery before moving onto a paired tasting. The 45-minute option takes you through four types of Assyrtiko alongside local cheeses, while the 90-minuter is a gastronomic affair incorporating a host of regional delights teamed with seven wines showcasing not just Assyrtiko but other grape varieties native to the island, plus some decades-old sweet vin santos.
Yields are kept deliberately low to ensure careful concentration of the fruits’ flavours and, out of respect to the individual plants, the team allows each plot of land to dictate when to harvest, how to process and how to age its wines.
While Assyrtiko is capable of producing extremely powerful white wines, Estate Argyros is keen to maintain subtlety and finesse within their range, making the timings of their harvests of paramount importance to avoid over-ripening. Varying styles of Assyrtiko are made in addition to wines from the indigenous Aidani and Mavrotragano grapes, not forgetting the vin santos: sweet wines made from grapes allowed to dry out to concentrate their sugars, capable of extended ageing.
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At Ktima Gerovassiliou the vineyard is cultivated with great care and enthusiasm that leads founder Vangelis Gerovassiliou to constantly research and experiment with Greek and foreign varieties, both well- and less- known. New technological advances blend well with tradition throughout vine growing and vinification processes.
The aim is to produce high-quality wines from grapes cultivated in the privately-owned vineyard which exhibit all the distinctive characteristics of the specific microclimate (terroir) of Epanomi.
The creation of the Wine Museum, in combination with its various organised activities, including visits, wine tastings, educational programs, seminars, publications, lectures, theatrical, and musical performances, further contributes to the diffusion of wine-growing culture.
Ktima Gerovassiliou is the brainchild of Vangelis Gerovassiliou. In 1981, he started reviving the family vineyard extending over 2.5 hectares in the Papamola region of Epanomi, approximately 25 km southeast of Thessaloniki. In this unique ecosystem he planted mainly Greek, but also foreign grape varieties.
The first vinification took place in 1986 at the modern winery that was built by the vineyard.
Vangelis Gerovassiliou was born in Epanomi to a farming and grape-growing family. Following his studies at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki's School of Agriculture, he specialised in Oenology, Viticulture, Wine-Tasting and the Technology of Wine-making equipment at the University of Bordeaux in France. During his studies, he was a collaborator of University of Bordeaux Professor Emile Peynaud and took part in his team, which was carrying out wine-tastings at the famous Chateaux of France.
From 1976 to the beginning of 1999 he worked as an oenologist at Domaine Porto Carras, where some of the most renowned wines of Greece were produced. It was there that he first vinified, revived and rescued from oblivion the long-forgotten Greek variety of Malagousia.
In 1981, urged by his love, knowledge and experience in vine-growing and fine wines, Vangelis Gerovassiliou began to renovate the family vineyard and created Ktima Gerovassiliou.
Vangelis Gerovassiliou and his wife, Sonia Tziola-Gerovassiliou have imparted their love for wine and vine-growing both to their children and the estate's employees. Argyris, Marianthi and Vassiliki –the second generation– upon completing their studies in Oenology, Management and Marketing respectively, have arrived to contribute to the estate with new knowledge and fresh ideas.
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The winery of Domaine Sigalas is nestled between vines on the ancient scenic plain of Oia on the Cycladic isle of Santorini.
Domaine Sigalas was founded in 1991 by Paris Sigalas, Christos Markozane and Yiannis Toundas. Initially, Sigalas winery was accommodated at the traditional winery of Paris Sigalas family.
Later on, in 1998, a new wine production, bottling and maturity unit was built and activated in a privately owned area, in Oia, the northern part of Santorini Island. Today, after constant investments on technology modernisation and expansions the current productive structure is formed, which allows the elaboration and bottling of 200.000 bottles a year.
The company cultivates 19 hectares of vineyards with local varieties and produces quality wines, in which you can see the potential of the varieties and the unique ‘terroir; of the volcanic island.
Paris Sigalas is a pioneering winemaker who applied mathematics and other innovative ideas to oenology and viticulture to elevate Santorini’s wines to international stardom. The 1991 Santorini is his maiden vintage, the first wine to be labelled Protected Designation of Origin, marking the start of operations at Domaine Sigalas.
Coming from a winemaking family, like most Santorinians, the future mathematician Paris Sigalas spent his summer holidays on the island. Together with friends, he helped out with grape-picking and in the production of the family's wine, a process that increasingly fascinated him.
Gradually, Sigalas took over the reins of his grandfather's vineyard and started crafting wine by his own guiding principle: “the dynamic evolution of tradition". It is the belief that innovation and technical savviness can coexist in a creative relationship with the ancient wine growing traditions of the island. As Paris Sigalas has said, it was his passion for tasting and evaluating wine that eventually set the high bar for his own wines.
Besides laid-back lounging at the visitor’s area, visitors of Domaine Sigalas can indulge in a variety of packages for a memorable wine experience. The choices range from a tutored tasting of a flight of wines, with or without food, to a comprehensive food and wine pairing menu, inclusive of a tour of the vineyard. Any visit requires advance booking.