Winespeak!

The A-Z of Santorini’s winemaking tradition from “Oinoxoos” Magazine.


Abasa The passage leading from one vineyard to the next.
Afla A small pipe/outlet in the pressing floor to allow the must to drain into a tank (see “linos”)
Afoura Large wine barrel.
Aidani This is one of the oldest varieties of white found in the Aegean and is believed to originate from the East, possibly from Adana in southern Turkey. It is used to produce mostly whites and the occasional dessert wine aged for long periods in barrels.
Alisaronia A broom made of wicker twigs.
Anemoloos A small window in winery buildings (“canava”) used for ventilation and to allow the odour of the wine to escape.
Assyrtiko Assyrtiko is a rare Greek variety of white that is among the most celebrated varieties found in the Mediterranean basin and can compete on an international level. It originates from Santorini, where 1,300 hectares of Assyrtiko vineyards yield 70 percent of Greece’s crop, though it is also grown in many other parts of the country as well.
Athiri There are those who believe the name Athiri to come from a mispronunciation of the words for “Theran grape.” The roots of Athiri in fact date to antiquity as Theran wine had already made a reputation for itself as far back as the 2nd century BC.
Bruscho A table wine for every day, made from over-ripe grapes, mainly Assyrtiko and less often Athiri or Aidani, and also from Mandilaria.
Canava All the buildings related to winemaking, owned by a single family. These were usually hollowed out in the ground and built of stone and mud. They contained at least two pressing floors, one for white and one for red grapes, with stone benches for the barrels holding about 1,400 litres. They also included a “rakidio,” a separate space for making the white spirit “tsikoudia,” and another (the “tomatadiko”) for making tomato paste.

Ferentini Type of knife used only in grape pressing.
Kambana
Grapes left on the vine after harvest.
Kofini
Wicker basket with short handles on the sides, used for harvesting and transporting grapes and other products.
Liastra Place for laying out grapes to dry in the sun.
Linos Underground tank next to the pressing floor into which must is drained before being poured into large barrels (see “afoura”)
Mandilaria This grape variety appears with about as many names as the places it is found around Greece – testament to the popularity of this attractive red, especially on the islands. Back in Pausanias’ time, Mandilaria was used to produce the famed Ariousios wine from the island of Chios.
Mangano Hand-operated grape press with a wooden drum and base.
Mavrotragano Until a few years ago, this red variety from black (“mavro”), crispy (“tragano”) grapes was used exclusively in sweet Santorini reds and came to the brink of extinction.
Mavrouka Dry red wine produced for decades on the island, so named (“mavro” = black) because of its dark colour and strong flavour.
Mezzo A red wine, not as sweet as Vinsanto.
Nychteri Derived from the Greek word for night, which was when grapes were harvested and pressed in the old days. Also used on Santorini for any night work. Some wineries spell it  “nykteri.”
Travenzo The early-morning gathering of donkey drivers who took grapes and wine (as well as tomatoes) to the ships.
Vaftra Local name for Mandilaria, one of the local red varieties.
Vendema Harvesting and winemaking season, starting in August and ending in October.
Voutsi Old measurement, the equivalent of one-and-a-half bottles of wine.
Xenoloa Foreign grape varieties introduced to the island.
Xefetsazo To clean the barrel from traces of the previous year’s wine.


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