Following centuries of tradition, the vines on the Greek island of Santorini are bush-trained and planted in shallow depressions with vine shoots woven into round, shrubby baskets, and grapes huddled at the center. The baskets also help shield the grapes from the region's strong sun and capture dew that sometimes descends from morning fog in the summer. The vines grow like this, trained but unpruned, for decades on the seemingly sterile soil. After 50 or 60 years, the canes get cut all the way back, then are allowed to regenerate; individual root systems are thus conserved and may be up to 400 years old. These factors combine to make Santorini one of the world's most distinctive and unique winegrowing regions. Wine Spectator's Robert Camuto explains.
From the Nov 15, 2014, issue