Domaine Sigalas: 2023 Santorini Harvest Report

Challenges demanding long-term strategic investment 

At one of the most challenging harvests in decades for Santorini, the scientific rigor of Domaine Sigalas’ viticulture team is leading the sustainable way.

 

The 2023 harvest in Santorini has been full of challenges in terms of weather conditions, resulting in one of the smallest in volume productions in decades. Data recorded demonstrates that climate change has started showing its teeth forcing the renowned heroic viticulture and the unique heritage landscapes of the Cycladic Island to face yet another critical and complex hazard.

“The preservation of the viticultural tradition in the new climate reality is the crucial bet”, according to Stratos Xyrafis, member of Domaine Sigalas Viticulturist team. “The scientific knowledge can work as a shield to the unique Santorinian viti-vini heritage, together with innovation and local vine growers’ empirical wisdom passed down generation upon generation. The synthesis of all those elements with respect, mindfulness and realism is the way forward that drives our work and systematic investment at Domaine Sigalas”.

CONDITIONS MET IN SANTORINI THROUGH THE YEAR

Weather in Santorini during the 2022-2023 growing season was characterized by mild winter temperatures and drought.  Rainfall did not exceed 190mm, while the average level on the island during the last 20 years had been 320mm; It is worth noting that 320mm was recorded last year as well, following 2 years of remarkably low rainfall. Still, rain distribution was key.

Rainfall distribution period lasted from October to June in 2023 (190mm of rain in 9 months), compared to the 320mm in 7 months (October to April) recorded in the previous season. As shown on the chart, equally interesting is the comparison with the last 20-year average when the rain distribution followed a rather typical seasonal climax, peaking during winter. That has not been the case of this season that displayed a discontinuous pattern; Ιn addition, due to the rain in May and June, there was a need for plant protection.

Spring was cool with the typical strong winds that almost every year cause damage to the sensitive developmental stage. It must be highlighted that on 23 April hail hit the southern parts of the island, disrupting the production of the region to a significant extent. The northern parts from where our major produce is created were not affected by the phenomenon.

Summer was characterized by two long heatwaves, peaking on the 15 and 23 July respectively, leading to further decrease of production and affecting the northern parts of the island as well.

All those conditions resulted in a production drop between 50 and 90% depending on the area. Consequently, grape prices have risen by more than 25% compared to 2022.

2023 HARVEST FOR DOMAINE SIGALAS

In the area of Oia, from where we acquire the grapes for our Domaine, quality has maintained high levels.

In the context of the extreme weather conditions met in Oia (heatwaves), environmentally friendly techniques were implemented to protect the plants and reduce heat stress. We chose to implement them widely in our area, managing to limit the impact of the severe phenomena to a considerable extent, preserving grape quality.

Due to the conditions met, there was a late ripening of the grapes, while harvest took place gradually, starting from the vine blocks of lower altitude.

At Domaine Sigalas, our harvest began on 16 August with the varieties of Athiri, Assyrtiko and Mavrotragano, followed by Mandilaria on 30 August; On 2 September we received the first Aidani grapes.  

FIRST QUALITY ASSESSMENT FOR DOMAINE SIGALAS 2023 VINTAGE

Rigorous Mavrotragano sorting berry by berry at Domaine Sigalas

The quality of the grapes arrived at our winery has been evaluated between “very good and exceptional” (phenolics, aromas), while the rigorous sorting of the fruits remains non-negotiable for our Domaine

The first samples show “quality features that meet Sigalas high standards” according to Sara Iakovidou, our Domaine’s oenologist, “despite the fact that 2023 has been a year of great challenges in the vineyard due to climate change”.

Domaine Sigalas awarded at “FNL Best Restaurants 2023”

Exhilarating news as our restaurant has received an award at the prestigious “Best Restaurant Awards 2023” held by FNL (The Food and Leisure Guide)  in Athens, at the category of “Contemporary Greek Cuisine“.

This significant distinction coming from a very strict and meticulous process run by a top team of gastronomy professionals all over the country, is an inspiring reward for Domaine Sigalas team; a payoff for years of dedicated effort aimed at introducing a top-notch winery restaurant in Greece.

At the core of this award is of course Kiriaki Fotopoulou, Domaine Sigalas Executive Chef (photo) that has been curating a passionate brigade led by Head Chef Gogo Mpismpardi. Blending creativity and culinary craftsmanship with profound respect to the volcanic produce of Santorini has been the goal for Sigalas cuisine from the start; An ode to fresh seasonal ingredients and to finest flavors in absolute harmony with the the world-renowned, authentic and singular Sigalas wines. Together with Spyro Lemanis, our hospitality manager, this remarkable bond between wine and gastronomy has been further enriched by the knowledgeable and seamlessly attentive service taking place in an upscale yet relaxed setting, beautifully integrated into the surroundings. Indeed, Domaine Sigalas offers an idyllic serene ambient to savor the experience, with spectacular view of the vines grown on the volcanic terroir of the island and the dreamy Santorini sunset on the the background.

A huge congratulations to Domaine Sigalas team for setting once more the golden standards in winery restaurants in Greece.

For more info and reservations for SIGALAS HOSPITALITY EXPERIENCE, click HERE
Hours of operation: 11:00 – 21:00.

 

 

 

New season at Domaine Sigalas: We are open!

Excited to announce that we are open for tours, wine tastings and mouthwatering food and wine pairings at our restaurant.

At Domaine Sigalas, our world-renowned wines are the epicenter of our unique universe; with profound respect to the Sigalas heritage, to the volcanic Santorinian landscape and authentic Cycladic culture, and to our restless and hospitable spirit that keeps raising the bar.

Santorini Domaine Sigalas Chef Kiriaki FotopoulouThe awarded Executive Chef Kiriaki Fotopoulou -together with her passionate team- has created our menu for yet another year, inspired by the local traditions and the outstanding products grown on the anhydrous land of Santorini; at the same time, she blends her creative culinary finesse with a mindful philosophy embracing the seasonal nature of products.
Every dish in our menu is made for sensational food and Sigalas wine pairings. Spearheaded by Sigalas benchmark Santorini Assyrtikos, singular and rare varieties like Aidani and Mavrotragano join this sensatory voyage of discovery.

Looking forward to welcoming you all from all over the globe at Domaine Sigalas!

DOMAINE SIGALAS SEASON OPENING
From 15 March 2023 

Hours:
March 2023: 11:00 – 19:00
April 2023: 11:00 – 20:00
From 15 May 2023: 11:00 – 21:00

For info & Reservations, please click HERE

Wine Advocate: Yet another first-class performance for Domaine Sigalas Santorini Assyrtiko wines

WINE ADVOCATE and Mark Squires set a truly impressive 2023 kickoff for Domaine Sigalas; on the 12 January report, the highest scores given across the PDO Santorini Assyrtiko range showcased once more the winery’s outstanding consistency in top quality. The ratings follow:
– Domaine Sigalas EPTA 2021: 95+
– Domaine Sigalas KAVALIEROS 2020: 94+
– Domaine Sigalas SANTORINI ASSYRTIKO BARREL 2021: 93
– Domaine Sigalas SANTORINI ASSYRTIKO 2021: 92+

It must be highlighted that the restless Domaine Sigalas spirit of discovering the singular Santorini sub-terroirs, as embraced by the “7 VILLAGES” project, was fully rewarded. Besides the “EPTA” label that for 2021 vintage was produced by Assyrtiko grown on the village of Fira, the remaining 6 wines of the range scored between 96-93 points!

What makes this overall performance even more noteworthy is the fact that it is attributed mostly to 2021 PDO Santorini Assyrtiko, a vintage related with a rather challenging harvest. A truly invigorating continuity with Sigalas’ iconic legacy as a point of reference for Santorini winemaking.

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2022 Harvest Report

Domaine Sigalas 2022 Harvest team in Santorini
The traditional team photo on the last day of 2022 harvest.

2022, a high quality year for Domaine Sigalas

The conditions

Mild weather, yet with rainfall exceeding the average standards of the last decades: that could summarize the conditions met in Santorini in 2022.

Growing season

It  was characterised by a moderate winter with much higher than usual precipitation. Truly, a rare phenomenon for Santorini and a much-awaited gift for the local vine growers. 320mm of rain was recorded during  October 2021 – mid-March 2022, compared to 190mm over the same period the previous year. Spring was warm without the typical strong winds -a factor that had often caused notable damages to the vines on the sensitive growth stage of the season. All the above led to a late but smooth ripening. Grapes with high acidity level, high quality bunches.

Harvest time

The lack of heatwaves was a key factor this year. Hard to forget the long and extreme temperatures that had battered the yields in 2021. 2022 harvest began gradually starting from the lower altitude vine plots.

Unexpectedly, the usual dry weather was interrupted by a steep rainfal (27mm) on 24 August. Hence, that atypical incident in the heart of the harvest affected a few areas of the island.

The result

The total island’s production was increased by 25-30% compared to the previous vintage. Top-notch quality of the grapes and high demand led to a further price increase by 15%.

Mavrotragano grape at Domaine Sigalas in Santorini

For Domaine Sigalas

The region of Oia -the main source of our grapes- gave fruits of excellent quality thanks to the favourable weather and our vigilance regarding plant protection.

Our harvest calendar progressed as following:

14 August: Assyrtiko and Athiri (white varieties)

15 August: Mavrotragano (red)

27 August: Mandilaria (red)

8 September: Aidani (white)

Our 2022 Vintage

Without doubt, we can talk about a high quality year. The conditions met during the year promoted the formation of outstanding aromas -more intense than in previous years. The flagship Assyrtiko is demonstrating a benchmark typicity with high acidity, structure, long aftertaste and notable ageing potential. Likewise, Mavrotragano is expected to give wines of exceptional vitality, structure and notable lifespan.

Grape selection at Domaine Sigalas in Santorini
Careful grape selection is key for Domaine Sigalas