To the overall story of Assyrtiko there is a chapter before and another one since Paris Sigalas. He is the 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 guidng principle: “the dynamic evolution of tradition". It is the belief that innovation and technical savviness can coexist in a creative relationship with the ancient winegrowing 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.
Santorini is globally recognized as an excellent wine region.
Its vineyard is one of the oldest in the world and has been cultivated uninterruptedly for over three thousand years. The soil is volcanic and thanks to this peculiarity it is one of the rare vineyards that were not affected by phylloxera. Most of the varieties here are ancient, with Assyrtiko being the dominant variety (covering about 70% of the land under vine). Assyrtiko is a virtuous “multi-dynamic” or versatile variety that is now considered one of the most important white varieties in the European vineyard.
Santorini’s historic sweet sun-dried wine, the famous Vinsanto, is mainly made from Assyrtiko (it contains at least 50%. Assyrtiko complemented by other white varieties of the island). Traditionally it was made from Assyrtiko with a small percentage of Aidani.
Also made with at least 80% Assyrtiko (supplemented with Aidani and Athiri) are PDO Santorini, PDO Santorini Barrel and the traditional white wine of Santorini called PDO Nychteri (which is an overripe harvest wine with an alcoholic strength of more than 15% that gets fermented and matured in old oak barrels for more than three years).
The winery of Domaine Sigalas is nestled between vines on the scenic plain of Oia in the northern part of Santorini. The 40 hectares of surrounding vineyards are cultivated in a sustainable manner and the winery’s annual wine production reaches 200,000 bottles. All wines are crafted with great attention for the varieties of Santorini and the neighbouring Cyclades. Domain Sigalas is one of the most prominent exporters of Greek wines worldwide, and the winery’s renowned, award-winning labels are also available across Greece.
Tradition Meets Innovation
Domaine Sigalas is known to be one of the most exacting Santorinian wineries, constantly experimenting in the vineyard as well as in the cellar with the aim to bring forth the best quality and uniqueness the Santorini’s terroir has to offer. Innovation and technical savviness coexist in a creative relationship with the ancient cultivation traditions of the island of Santorini. All winegrowing decisions are based on the guiding principle of founder Paris Sigalas, which is best phrased as a “dynamic evolution of tradition”.