Vassaltis is the latest addition to Santorini’s long, storied winemaking history. Owner Yannis Valambous’ passion for wine drew him back to the island of Santorini, where he spent many a happy family holiday as a child. In the wake of the 2010 Greek financial crisis, a plan took root in his mind, a plan that was part dream, part folly. Yannis sought to breathe new life into the vineyards he inherited from his father. Looking out across the vines, Yannis saw the potential to create something truly exceptional and unique with the land his father left him. He focused in on a single goal – to transform the family vineyards into a thoroughly modern, state-of-the-art boutique winery and craft exquisite wines which showcase the quality of Santorini’s grapes.It took a few years, but when construction of the new winery finished in April 2016, Yannis was ready to dive into his new venture. Working alongside the exceptionally talented oenologists Elias Roussakis and Yannis Papaeconomou, they entered the next phase of this exciting endeavour – crafting the wine. The three men were brought together by a shared vision: to prove that Santorini is capable of producing world-class wines and that the new generation of Greek winemakers, using their skill and winemaking artistry, are the ones to help bring these wines to an international audience of wine lovers.
Vassaltis is the passion project of Yannis Valambous. In 2012, the former economist turned vineyard owner abandoned a successful career in the UK to revive the vineyards left to him by his late father. Today, Vassaltis is his life. Yannis dedicates himself in the day-to-day aspects of the winery, overseeing all aspects of marketing and promoting the wines and the winery’s tasting room operations.
Yannis Papaeconomou is one of our two incredibly talented oenologists. He is a graduate of the Technical University of Athens where he earned a degree in Oenology. Yannis brings with him a wealth of experiences in drinks production from brewing to distilling, but his passion lies in the art of making wine. Before joining the Vassaltis team, Yannis applied his craft at renowned wineries across the globe, including Vina Maquis in Chile, Michel Chapoutier in France, Oyster Bay in New Zealand, and more locally, Domaine Sigalas. Yannis’ diverse experience has brought priceless knowledge to Vassaltis where he helps bring our vision of crafting exemplary wines to life.
Elias Roussakis is our second indispensable oenologist. After graduating from the Athens University of Agronomy, Elias went on to earn a post-graduate diploma from the SupAgro University of Montpellier in France. After a brief stint in Tinos, Elias returned to his birthplace, Santorini, to realise his dream of vinifying world-class wines in his homeland. His long experience in Santorini and particularly, with the local Assyrtiko grape, are a great asset to our winery, making him a key member of the team and a driving force behind our success.
Since day one, Vassaltis Winery’s guiding principles were to combine traditional winemaking with the operational needs of a sleek, state-of-the-art winery capable of yielding exceptional wines that showcase the best of Santorini.
Our winery was inspired by a minimalist and modern aesthetic capable of accommodating ample space to house our winemaking operations and tasting room. Key to this was the need to make sure the building integrated harmoniously with the surrounding environment.
The main component of the building is the “neck”, comprised of two continuous arches. It acts as a virtual axle that penetrates the building, at once dividing and connecting its parts, drawing one’s eye to the heart of the site. The space developing out from the “neck” constitutes a transparent space. It leads the eye towards the sea, serving as both a horizontal and vertical communication between the production area and the tasting room. The large glass surfaces at each end allow natural light to filter through and gives way to exquisite vistas of the sea, the surrounding islands, and of course, the vineyards.
The building’s design is inspired by the traditional architectural elements found across the island and marries them with a fresh, modern aesthetic so that our winery feels contemporary while honouring our local roots. From the geometrical composition and plain volumes at different heights down to the building materials, the winery boasts a timeless character – powerful in its simplicity while striking the balance between the past and the present.
The overlapping arches leave a slit between them, exposing the sky and allowing more natural light to enter the building. Segments of local black volcanic rock serve as a counterpoint to the white expanse of the walls, which are, in turn, interrupted by elongated horizontal skylights. Indoors, white walls and dark surfaces (rock and metal) continue to alternate to create a rhythm from sun-kissed. gleaming white to lava black; a unique characteristic of Santorini.
SANTORINI & WINE
If you share our passion for great wine, join one of our friendly expert guides on a tour of the winery. You’ll get a first-hand look at the inner workings of our winery and the fascinating process of going from vine to wine. Stroll amongst the vines and feel the volcanic soils that help define our unique terroir then take a trip down to our production area where our oenologists oversee the magical transformation which turns grape juice into wine. Finally, explore the cellar where the wines enter the final stage of slumbering in barrel or tank before they’re ready to be enjoyed.