Tsantali Harvest Report 2016: a roller-coaster


2016 harvest started on Tuesday 9 August at our vineyard in Halkidiki. It was an earlier kick off by at least a week, something expected due to the climate conditions recorded throughout the year in Northern Greece. Overall:

  • Mild winter that led to a normal bud break
  • Warm spring and summer with cooler nights
  • Occasional rainfall during summer, beneficial for the water reserves of the vine
  • Lack of heat wave and extreme weather conditions


Within this context, the harvest of the early ripening varieties resulted to excellent results in terms of quality and quantity (+10% on average production volume); our vineyards in Halkidiki, Mount Athos and Maronia were the illustrative example. 

The conditions were close to perfect until the first week of September, when rainfall -heavy in some cases- was recorded. The impact of the weather volatility on harvest differed between the regions: 

  • In the broader region of the Halkidiki peninsula, rain was light and beneficial for the vines and the rest of harvesting
  • In Naoussa and Rapsani, serious concerns for Xinomavro were triggered. Luckily, the sunny days that followed and/or intervened, as well as the excellent quality of the grapes thanks to the ideal conditions up to September, saved the day. (The harvest in Naoussa is completed (26 Sept), while in Rapsani we are 10 days away from completion) 
  • In Maronia, harvest was completed just a few days before the beginning of rain.


More details per vineyard:

Mount Athos vineyard logo ENG[ Halkidiki and Mount Athos ]

The relatively high temperatures in spring were quite beneficial leading to an early bud-break and accelerating shoot growth and leaf area development. Summer was rather cool maintaining a good average temperature (28-32°C); ideal conditions for the photosynthesis process and for an accelerated growth. Grapes reached full ripening a week earlier that the average time for both regions. 

Harvest calendar:


White varieties

Halkidiki vineyard

Harvest kick off: 9 August

Mount Athos vineyard

Harvest kick off: 16 August

Harvest time order 

1. Sauvignon blanc

2. Muscat

3. Malagousia

4. Assyrtiko

5. Athiri

6. Roditis

Harvest time order

1. Chardonnay

2. Assyrtiko

3. Athiri

4. Roditis


Having completed fermentation, the white wines from both vineyards stand out for their aromatic intensity and high acidity.



Red varieties

Halkidiki vineyard

Harvest kick off: 29 August

Mount Athos vineyard

Harvest kick off: 30 August

Harvest time order

1. Merlot

2. Cabernet Sauvignon

Harvest time order

1. Grenache

2. Limnio

3. Cabernet Sauvignon


Overall, the red grapes are characterised by the high level of alcohol and the excellent phenolic ripeness. September rain was light and beneficial for the vines left to be harvested. 


[ Μaronia ]

The year was particular good for the region. The weather was good with no extremes. The mild winter together with the adequate rainfall and -most importantly- the cool summer led to grapes of full ripeness and high acidity. We estimate that 2016 will be one of the best vintages of the recent years in Maronia in terms of quality. 

Harvest calendar:


White varieties


Red varieties

Harvest kick off: around August 10th Harvest kick off: mid-August 
Harvest time order

1. Chardonnay

2. Sauvignon blanc

3. Muscat 

Harvest time order

1. Merlot

2. Syrah

3. Μavroudi

4. Cabernet Sauvignon


[ Rapsani ]

The weather throughout the year in Rapsani was good with no extremes nor notable adversities. Up until the end of August everything had gone beautifully with harmonious ripening and great phenolic maturity for all three varieties used in the Rapsani blend (Xinomavro, Krassato and Stavroto). Rain that started after the first week of September was certainly not desirable. Nevertheless, despite the initial estimations, the weather volatility did not cause serious problems. 

Harvest started in 22 September at the vine parcels located in sub-zone A (up to 250m. altitude) and sub-zone C (500+m. altitude), while within the next couple of days (28-29 September) we will begin harvesting sub-zone B (250-500m. altitude). Overall, it has been an earlier harvest by approximately 10 days. The grapes already delivered at our winery, were healthy with good phenolic ripeness and good sugar levels. 

More info about the sub-zones A, B and C HERE


 [ Νaoussa ]

The year had gone exceptionally well resulting to an accelerated vines growth by 10 days. By the end of August the Xinomavro grapes were super healthy and beautifully ripened. We were all talking about one of the best vintages of the last decade for the PDO Naoussa wines. Unfortunately the weather lived up to its wild card reputation and heavy rainfall occured in early September. In only 3 days (7-10 September) the depth of rain reached 180mm, something that put an end to our estimations for a stellar vintage -for the second consecutive year- and made clear that the next 20 days were to become extremely crucial. 

Harvesting in our vineyard in Strantza started in 14 September. The last Xinomavro grapes were delivered to our winery in 26 September. It turned out that the sunny days that followed the heavy rain and the high quality of the grapes had provided a buffer against the weather volatility in early September. The Xinomavro grapes were healthy and intensely aromatic with adequate sugar level and higher in alcohol level than in 2015. The fermentation of the first grapes is to be completed. 




This report is released by the TSANTALI Viticulture and Oenology departments on 27 September 2016

Dr. George Salpiggidis, Head of Agriculture dept.     

Ilias Antoniadis, Head of Oenology  dept.

Andreas Anthomelidis, Agriculturist – Head of Naoussa vineyard team

Stavros Ezanidis, Director of TSANTALI Quality Control dept. – Head of TSANTALI distillates – Head of Rapsani vineyard team


For any queries please contact: marketing@tsantali.gr

Download the Report HERE



WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien