Environment

Lanzarote possesses the most unique landscape in the whole archipelago of the Canary Islands, composed by the lava of many volcanoes. With the lunar aspect and bizarre landscape reaches in the National Park of Timanfaya, the island is distinguished by its nuances.

 

In spite of the extreme shortage of rainfall, and being located in the vicinity of Africa, the island meets the conditions for viticulture. This is in itself something of a miracle, partly thanks to the tireless work of the wine growers and the trade winds, that carry the moisture of the Atlantic on its tormented geography. Indeed the viticulture of Lanzarote is one of the most blatant examples of the dramatic struggle between a man and the environment.

 

The winegrower, after waging a battle with the lava in search of the soil, has to accomplish all this with minimal rainfall, the average yearly rainfall is just 150 mm. However the trade winds condense the moisture from the ocean on the porous volcanic ash, which acts like dark sponge, retaining the dew and transmitting it into the vines during the day. This process of slow osmosis allows the excellent grapes to grow on the volcanic ash, something the people from Lanzarote (Conejeros) have learned and been using wisely for many, years.

 

The farm creates holes in the form of a funnel (pits), into the layer of volcanic ash to reach the topsoil. At the bottom of these holes, at times up to two meters in depth, 1 to 3 vines are planted per hole. To protect these holes with vines from the constant wind, farmers build semicircular stone walls of 60 – 70 cm high, each of them protecting the plants and ensuring they are covered evenly by volcanic ash. In areas where the layer of “lapilli” is less (Tinajo, Masdache, Ye-Lajares), these circular walls are built for the protection of the vine against the wind.

 

In general, the grape grower (Conejero), thanks to his continuous work, has learned to fully integrate with the natural landscape, while still respecting its harsh and chaotic nature with its fascinating scenes, capable of producing an incredible livelihood. The system is of great originality and beauty, especially in the area of La Geria, thanks to them the landscape of the whole island is dotted with vineyards that add up to 3,355 hectares. From difficult, strenuous work comes ingenuity, and excellent wines.

 

The area of production of this Designation of Origin extends to the municipalities that constitute the island; there are three main wine-growing areas:

 

  • La Geria: An area of vineyards located between the towns of Yaiza and Tías. The ash sanding remains natural up to 5 meters deep, as a result of the volcanic eruptions.

 

  • Masdache: This is the largest area, within which we can differentiate two sub zones; Tinajo where the system of cultivation is the trench edge (zanjas perimetrales) and Masdache with its traditional vineyards.

 

  • Ye-Lajares: The area between the municipalities of Haría and Teguise. It is an area of low productivity given the type of soil in the area. The plantation frame is unique in the world. Its harvest is the earliest in Europe, the grape harvest starts in the month of July. The last ends its fermentation when the Beaujolais (earliest wine from Europe, as they say) is still in process of ripening.

 

The varieties from which the most distinguished wines in Lanzarote are produced   are: Malvasía, Listán White, Muscatel, Diego, Burra White, Breval, Pedro Ximénez, Black Listán and Negramoll. The grape variety, predominantly Malvasía is perfectly adapted to the environment and gives a small grape, one that is low-yielding, -however of great quality with the balance between flavours and fragrances that develop later. We must not forget the Diego variety, late-maturing variety, which provides very aromatic wines. Most of the local harvest goes to the making of white wines; dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet, sweet, liqueur wines, “crianzas”, and sparkling, as well as rosé, and red wines.

 

Young white wines do have a straw yellow colour, and are very aromatic, highlighting the personality that gives them the “Malvasía” grape. They are pleasant to taste, balanced, with a dry almond finish.

 

The rosé wines are pink in colour, fresh, fruity and persistent.

 

The reds in general, are wines of medium intensity, great quality and good structure. Liqueur wines made from the Muscatel grape variety are very generous, aromatic and result in appetiser or dessert wines of an excellent quality.

 

The yield per hectare is a negative record; ranging between 1,000 and 1,500 kg. Production on the island is subject climax climate, ranging between one and three million kilos.