Crafty Vineyards

panorama of Santorini

The famed Grecian islands of Santorini gets only a few rains each year. The islands’ traditional roofs are arched to shed water into drainage spouts that


Yellow jug connected to tubing attached to a wall.

collect the runoff. Still, almost all the islanders’ freshwater must be shipped in. So how do Santorinians grow enough grapes to support a notable wine industry?

A bottle of red wine

Photo from

Seaside cliffs of pumice

Layers of pumice











Back in the bronze age, a megaton volcano blew Santorini apart so violently that her ash cloud blanketed the Earth. Fallout from that cloud buried what was left of Santorini in a mega layer of pumice.














Pumice is so porous that it scrapes humidity out of sea air and holds it like a sponge. The rock can protect its hoard against evaporation, but not a grape root worming its way into pumice’s hiding places and sipping droplets.

Grapevines coiled on sand

Santorini vineyard

Even with adequate water, life is harsh on a bed of hot rock. Santorini vine tenders help the vines flourish by training them into coiled wreaths which help shade developing grapes.
Thanks to pumice and ingenuity, Santorini offers more wine than water…or so I’ve heard.Leafless coiled vine

Drying grape vine

About breathtakebyways

Ann Williams’ travel articles have appeared in publications all over the country including The Washington Post, Roads to Adventure, and Jack and Jill. Between researching and writing books, she specializes in creative lectures.