Lanzarote is one of the 7 main Canary Islands, located 80 miles off the coast of Africa. With its desert climate, wine production is a surprise to most. The history of Lanzarote wine is long and fascinating and it follows the tale of man´s constant battles.
A Volcanic Island
Between 1730 and 1736 Lanzarote had a constant flow of volcanic eruptions, in the now Timanfaya National Park. This shaped much of the Island as we know it today. 30% of the Island was effected and fertile soil, was buried under lava and volcanic ash known as picon. In time, farmers learnt that a vine would flourish when planted into the soil under the picon. Picon retains moisture and locks it into the earth allowing the hardy vines to survive. Vine growing in Lanzarote is defined by deep hollows and curved dry stone walling, known as zocos. The zocos protect the vines from the strong north easterly trade winds.
Wine production in the Canary Islands dates back to the mid 15th Century, when the first colonists brought in the vines. Canarian wine was soon the drink of choice and appeared on the tables of courts and royalty across Europe. In Shakespeare´s plays Canarian wine is mentioned frequently. Later, country allegiances changed and Canarian wine fell out of favour as the trade switched to Portugal.
A Unique Culture
The Island escaped the phylloxera plague which destroyed almost all of Europe´s vineyards in the 19th century. Local vines are therefore ungrafted and own their rootstock. As a result they can live much longer and it is another reason why Lanzarote wine is truly unique. During the past 15 years, the wine industry has seen a new lease of life and investment has resulted in the Island producing award winning wine. White has been the main wine from the native Malvasia, Moscatel and Diego grape varieties. In addition Lanzarote has some lovely reds from the Listan Negro & increasingly Syrah varieties.
Just some of the vineyards we visit on our tours include :
Some of our recommendations in Lanzarote:
Finca Malvasia – A rural retreat in the heart of the the Masdache wine region.
Oasis Surf House A laid back B&B in Soo close to all the main surf spots.
Easy Hire & Luggage Storage – Have you an early check out and a late flight? Why not use Easy Hire´s secure and professional luggage storage facility. Island wide collection and delivery allowing you to enjoy your last day on the Island.
Finishing Touch Holidays – Finishing Touch Holidays provide everything you need to create your perfect Lanzarote villa holiday.