Due to its unique ecology and climate, and especially its volcanic ash soil, Santorini is home to unique and prized produce. The Santorini tomatoes are the extremely flavorful and sweet cherry tomatoes, with an intensely red, staining color. The white eggplants of Santorini are very sweet, with very few seeds, and can be eaten raw, as though they were fruit. The katsoúni is a unique local variety of large cucumbers which, if left unpicked, turn yellow and acquire a sweet taste almost indistinguishable from that of melon.
The island is also home of a small, but flourishing wine industry, based on the indigenous grape variety, Assyrtiko. The vines are extremely old and resistant to phylloxero, and in their adaptation to their habitat, vines are planted far apart, with dew and sea mist being their principal source of moisture. They are often trained in the shape of low-spiraling baskets, with the grapes hanging inside to protect them from the winds.
The viticultural pride of the island is the sweet and strong Vinsanto, meaning wine of Santo(rini) or "holy wine" in Italian. It's a dessert wine made from the best sun-dried Assyrtiko, Athiri, and Aidani grapes and undergoing long barrel aging (up to twenty or twenty-five years for the top cuvées). It matures to a sweet, dark amber-orange dessert wine that has achieved worldwide fame, possessing the standard Assyrtiko aromas of citrus and minerals, layered with overtones of nuts, raisins, figs, honey and tea.