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High praise for Santorini documentary

A new film about the Greek island of Santorini has been selected for the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival.

Pelican’s Watch is a documentary about a small winemaking community on the island and its battles to stop vineyards being sold off for development.

The film is co-produced by Lea Binzer and Nico Manessis, Decanter writer and author of the Greek Wine Guide, and stars the 83-year-old Christos Dalmiras, and Nikos Pelekanos, both growers, and winemaker Paris Sigalas.

Following the nine months of the vintage from February to September, its ‘main message is that the land must be protected from development, and zoning laws must be introduced. It shows reality, you see the political situation in Greece, the cronyism,’ Manessis told Decanter.com’

But he made clear the story was told ‘with humanity and humour – it’s not a polemical film.’

Santorini, famous for its powerful white wines, was formed from a volcanic eruption 4000 years ago.

Some 1200ha of its extraordinary black volcanic soil are planted to Assyrtiko vines trained in the unique ground-hugging ‘basket’ system where shoots are woven around each other to protect the vine from the constant wind and sun.

The wines are deliver ‘a Chablis minerality’, Manessis said. ‘They’ve been described as “Chablis on steroids”.’

‘These are some of the most ancient vines in the world,’ Manessis said. ‘The soil analyst Claude Bourguignon has said the oldest vines are 400 years old.’

Andrew Jefford, in a 2008 article, said Santorini produced ‘the most pronounced vin de terroir in the world. In no other wine can you smell and taste with such clarity the mineral soup and the bright sunlight which, gene-guided, structures the grape and its juice’.

As well as being selected for the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival., Pelican’s Watch was given an honorary mention at the Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival.

To see a trailer go to pelecanswatch.gr

Written by Adam Lechmere

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