Technical news

The island of Santorini (Greece)
The wine Estate Argyros wanted to develop and establish the island’s indigenous and emblematic grape varieties.

An exceptional geo-climatic environment
Weather conditions are extreme on Santorini; it is a semi-arid island, rain falls mainly in winter; salt-loaded wind blows hard all year long and strong sunshine beats down over a long period.
There is extremely poor volcanic soil: a layer of volcanic ash, sands, pumice stone, cinders on a sub-soil comprised of volcanic tuff.  Organic matter is scarce. A considerable risk of seismic activity exists here and reserves of freshwater are rare and costly.
Paysage représentatif de l’ile et du vignoble du domaine Argyros
Santorini’s wine-producing tradition goes very far back in time and has numerous specific features

  • Indigenous grape varieties such as Assyrtiko, an emblematic variety of this island, enables growers to produce fine dry, lively white wines or semi-sweet whites using the raisining technique.  There is also Aidani, a white grape and Mavrotragano, a black grape. 
  • An unusual pruning method in the shape of basket laid on the ground is used to protect the grapes from weather extremes.
  • Phylloxera has never attacked this island and explains the fact that vines are planted directly without the need for grafting.
  • Winegrowing genetic heritage is abundant and still largely-protected.
  • The harshness of the climate, linked to the small size of the island and its vineyards.
  • Despite growing real-estate pressure to accommodate tourists, a handful of estate owners are working together to conserve this exceptional winegrowing heritage.
To establish a nursery before planting vines directly in the vineyard
The winegrower must:

  • Select and mark old, healthy vines whose growth performance is satisfactory and which produce good grapes.
  • Prepare an adapted area near the vineyard’s production buildings to monitor the young vines and water them occasionally.
  • Prepare the nursery with structuration, a rational amount of soil-enriching agent before planting vines in the soil.
  • Change the piece of land used for the vine nursery every year, so as to regenerate the soil.
Results obtained

  • With the basket-style pruning method, branches lay on the ground. To form new vines, woods are selected in autumn, once the leaves have fallen. Each wooden branch must measure at least 50cm.
  • This preliminary pruning stage makes it possible to hoe more easily soils near older vines in grape-producing plots. 
  • In winter, after a distinct spell of cold weather, the nursery is dismantled. The root system observed for young vines is impressive: numerous main roots, width of diameter and length are a guarantee of good growth and exceptional vitality. 

DOUBLE GRAFTING AND GRAFTING ON SITE

DOUBLE GRAFTING AND GRAFTING ON SITE Change variety or clone: If a grape variety or clone is better suited to the one in place, this method makes it possible to establish the plot without having to uproot.  In this way, the winegrower takes advantage of established...

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TAKING CARE OF THE SOIL BENEATH THE VINE ROW

TAKING CARE OF THE SOIL BENEATH THE VINE ROW Caring for the soil between vine stocks is specifically the small area of land situated beneath the row of vines.  The main objectives of weeding are:  to control competition between roots found in the grass-covered area...

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