In order to understand how it is possible to obtain wine from the soils of Lanzarote, one must first learn a little bit about the island, its landscapes, climatic conditions, its formation… Only then may we find out how a volcanic land indulges us with such magical wines as the ones we have in Lanzarote.
We find ourselves in an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, only 100km from the Sahara, with volcanic formation and caressed by the Trade Winds.
Black and reddish colors, lava, intense blues from the Ocean, white sand, barrenness, isolated palm trees and also vineyards. Yes, Lanzarote is a land of many contrasts, colors, sensations where the locals have wisely known how to treat and cultivate the grapevine until obtaining their own Certificate of Origin.
LA GERIA AND THE SURROUNDINGS
I would risk saying that the way that the wine is cultivated in Lanzarote is unique in the world and I bet I am not wrong. Holes with nearly 3m diameter digged in the soil and surrounded by a group of semi-circle rocks meant to protect the plant from the intense winds which dominate the island. This is what we call La Geria, the typical landscape of Lanzarote filled with grapevines.
The rocks that form the semi-circle are never completely closed, instead they have small holes between each other in order to allow the wind to enter so that the plant gets the humidity it needs and at the same time ventilates and avoids the fearful plagues.
In spite of the recurring scarcity of rains, the island gathers good conditions for the vine growing, a miracle related equally to the tireless work of the wine growers and to the beneficial action of the Trade Winds that bring humidity from the Atlantic to its tormented geography.
To take the car and go over the road that crosses La Geria is one of the biggest pleasures when visiting the island. To stop in a small corner to take a picture, to detain oneself in a winery and savor a glass of wine or simply enjoy the wonderful views from “El Chupadero”, a very cool bar in the middle of nowhere and with a spectacular panoramic view… it’s hard to explain with words, one must experience it himself!
HOW DOES THE GRAPEVINE GROW?
The soils in which the vineyards are built have a volcanic origin. The lapilli layer covers the vegetable soil of the vineyard facilitating the rain rapid filtration and maintaining a constant soil temperature.
The surface of the majority of vineyards is covered with volcanic black ashes that prevent the growth of other types of vegetation but that owns excellent attributes as far as water retention from the dew is concerned. This means that the grapevines planted here thrive (also) due to the fact that the soil underneath the ashes is fertile, composed by clay or sand over a bed of limestone.
It’s impressive how we can obtain wines cultivated in a volcanic land where not long ago (around the XVIII Century) there was a big volcanic eruption that covered part of the island with ashes.
TYPES OF GRAPES IN LANZAROTE
The varieties used in the ellaboration of such fantastic wines produced in Lanzarote are: Malvasía, Listán Blanco, Moscatel, Diego, Burra Blanca, Breval, Pedro Ximénez, Listán Negra and Negramoll. The vineyard, mainly Malvasia, is perfectly adapted to its environment and gives a small grape, of limited yield but with great quality due to its balance, flavor, perfume that is later transferred to the wine. The majority of the vintage is destined to the elaboration of white wines, either dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet, sweet, liquors, crianza or sparkling.
Some of the wineries that we can find in Lanzarote nowadays are the ones listed below, some of them are open to the public and can be visited.
We hope that our brief idyllic stroll convinces you to visit this island with character and personality, with lunar landscapes, magic, powerful and above all, with excellent wines.
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Lanzarote awaits you!