The Santorini “kouloura”
A special and unique way of vine pruning is the one developed on Santorini, known as the Santorini “kouloura”, or “wreath” or “basket”. The origin of this way of training vines is lost down in the passage of time and has been perfected to such an extent that, apart from being the most suitable way of training them, it also gives vines the appearance of natural works of art.
In order to train the vines into a Santorini “kouloura”, experienced vine dressers weave the canes of the vine into the shape of a large wreath-like basket which rests on the island’s volcanic soil. Once fruiting begins, the grapes grow sheltered within their “woven” baskets. In that manner, the yield is in no danger of being compromised and the vines weather out the adverse Santorini soil and climatic conditions, such as:
• Strong winds which gather momentum especially in spring when budding begins
• Volcanic sand which lashes the vines as it is carried away and swirled around by the wind
• The scorching summertime sun
• Lack of water and moisture (with the exception of the nocturnal sea mist)
Another pruning technique akin to that of the Santorini “kouloura” is known as “koulouri” or “klada”, where vine dressers summon up all their skill and carefully shape each cane into a large hollow cookie which hangs almost vertically over the ground.