“Sigalas is one of Greece’s finest white wine producers – in fact, a short list candidate for the best. I would like to take credit for that conclusion, but there is not much dissent here. This producer is universally acclaimed for his skill with Assyrtiko of all types – dry, barrel fermented and sweet – and I can only climb on the bandwagon. Sigalas is simply a master with this grape.”
-The Wine Advocate
Domaine Sigalas was founded in 1991 by Paris Sigalas, Christos Markozane and Yiannis Toundas. Initially, Sigalas made his wine at the converted Sigalas family home. In 1998 a new vinification, bottling and aging unit was built in a privately owned area of Oia, on the northern part of Santorini.
Sigalas has been a pioneer in the organic viticulture and has participated in a government organic farming methods program since 1994.
Paris Sigalas remains committed to the founding principles of Domaine Sigalas – a creative relationship with the tradition, the Santorini Vineyards as well as the use of the best in winemaking technology and experience.
Sigalas concentrates on native grape varieties works most closely with Assyrtiko, but also has plantings of Athiri, Aedani, Mandilaria and Mavrotragano. The winery owns 14 hectares of organically grown Assyrtiko and includes permanent cooperation with local grape producers. Recently under cultivation are another 4 hectares of Aedani and Mavrotragano, 2.5 hectares of Assyrtiko and in the near future plans to add another 15 hectares of Assyrtiko.
The porous volcanic soil of Santorini allows the earth to retain water, giving the vineyards the ability to stay nourished during the high summer temperatures. During the hot Greek summer, rains are extremely rare and the only source of water for the vineyards is the nocturnal fogs.
After the evening sun sets the island becomes enveloped in a fog that comes in from the sea. The vines are able to retain the water they need from this evening fog and use it during the warm daylight hours when it is needed most.
Santorini was also one of the rare wine-making areas in the world not attacked by phylloxera, because of the high content of sand found in volcanic soil. Because of their resistance to phylloxera the vines retain their original root stocks.
The winds saturate the island throughout the year. The only way for the grapes to survive from the direct exposure of sun and strong winds is to be protected inside low-basket-shaped vines, the “ampelies”, as they are called locally forming a unique pruning system. The refreshing northerly winds that blow from July to September, known as the “meltemia”, also help keep the vines from developing the numerous fungi that can result from the combination of summer heat and humidity.