Harvest in Santorini 2017: A song of lava and Assyrtiko
''Until the heat waves of late June all looked very bright for the upcoming vintage in Santorini'' says George Gavalas of Gavalas Estate. ''For what I have witnessed so far in my numerous harvests, this was the best spring of the last decade'' he continues.
But then catastrophe knocked the door Yiannis Paraskevopoulos of Gaia Wines admits . ''The extremely hot weather conditions in June caused many problems with sunburn - damage affecting approximately 40-60% of the entire crop'' he reports, adding that he expects yields to be decreased by 20-30%.
The lower - lying vineyards on the eastern part experienced the worst, states Yiannis Valabous owner of Vassaltis winery: ''It is Vourvoulos, Exo Gonia and Fira that have been damaged close to 60% while Pyrgos, Megalochori and Akrotiri have mostly escaped''.
While production will be seriously affected with rough estimations predicting 2.000 to 2.200 tones (a classic year has 2.600), quality is expected to be high again. To achieve that Valabous points that ''this year the selection tables will be on fire!''
Producer Haridimos Hatzidakis of Hatzidakis winery adds another interesting tip. '' Damage on the bush (crawling) vines has been more serious compared to the basket - trained vines that offer top protection to the extreme weather conditions of the island''.
Despite all agreeing that 2017 will be a tough year, no one is sure about the subsequent price of grapes. Gavalas and Hatzidakis talk about prices staying steady as last year where the starting point was 2.40 euros per kilo but climbed easily to even 3.50. Paraskevopoulos is more skeptical saying he expects a possible increase because of the lower production while Valabous talks of a possible starting point around 2.70 euros per kilo but he sounds confident that producers will go up considerably higher for grapes destined for single vineyard bottlings.
My wish for all the growers and producers for 2017 harvest is to craft top notch Greek wines elevating quality to even higher standards.