Environment

Lanzarote has the most unique landscape in the archipelago of the Canary Islands, shaped by the lava of a number of volcanoes, with its lunar characteristics showing spectacular nuance in Timanfaya National Park.

Despite the endemic scarcity of rain, due to its proximity to warm Africa, the island offers all of the conditions for viticulture, a miracle that is due in equal measure to the tireless work of winegrowers and the benefits of the trade winds bringing moisture from the Atlantic over its tormented geography. Viticulture in Lanzarote is one of the clearest examples of this dramatic fight between man and environment.

After becoming free from the great battle with lava to find topsoil, winegrowers also had to deal with the scarcity of rain, as average annual precipitation is 150 mm, although the existence of the trade winds condenses the moisture of the ocean over the porous volcanic ash, which acts as a dark sponge retaining dew and transferring it to the grapevines throughout the day. A very slow osmosis allows excellent fruit to be grown over the volcanic ash, something that the people of Lanzarote (“conejeros”) have known how to use wisely.

Farmers dig holes in the shape of a funnel in the volcanic ash layer until they reach the topsoil and at the bottom of these holes, which are sometimes over two meters deep, they plant one to three vines per hole and build semicircular walls of rock about 60-70 cm high to protect these holes from the constant winds. Each wall protects the vines from being covered with volcanic ash. In areas where the lapilli layer is smaller (Tinajo, Masdache, Yé-Lajares), these semicircular walls are built to protect the vines from the wind.

Generally, thanks to their constant and tenacious work, winegrowers in Lanzarote have known how to fully fit into the natural landscape, respecting the harsh and chaotic nature in fascinating scenarios capable of creating an unforeseen livelihood.

Each system is highly original and beautiful, especially in the Geria area. Thanks to the vine growers, the landscape of the island is sprinkled with vineyards, totaling 2,000 ha. Naturally, after such a great deal of work and ingenuity, these vineyards produce excellent wines.

The production area of this Designation of Origin extends through many towns across the island, making up three main winegrowing areas:

  • La Geria: : The vineyard zone is located between the towns of Yaiza and Tías. The sand cover is natural up to 5 meters deep, as a result of volcanic eruptions
  • Masdache: This is the largest area and there are two different subareas: Tinajo, where the diversion ditch crop pattern is used, and Masdache itself with its extensive vineyards.
  • Ye-Lajares: Area between the towns of Haría and Teguise. This is an area with low productivity given the type of soil. This is the only place in the world using this planting distance. The harvest is the earliest, as the grape harvest begins in July. The must finishes fermenting when the Beaujolais (ostensibly the earliest wine in Europe) is still on the vine.

The grape varieties used to produce the excellent wines from Lanzarote are: Malvasia, Listán Blanco, Moscatel, Diego, Burra Blanca, Breval, Pedro Ximénez, Listán Negro, and Negramoll. The vine, mainly the Malvasia, is perfectly adapted to the environment and produces a small grape with a limited yield, but great quality due to its balance, taste, and scent that is later transferred to the wine. We shouldn’t forget the Diego grape, a variety that ripens late and makes very aromatic wines.

The majority of the harvest goes toward the production of white wines, be them dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet, sweet, liqueur wines, crianzas, and sparkling, although not only should the region’s rosés be mentioned, but also its high-quality reds. Its young white wines are straw yellow and very aromatic, and the personality the Malvasia lends it is notable. Pleasant on the palate, balanced, and with a dry almond finish.

The rosés are pink – redcurrant, fresh, fruity, and lingering. The reds are generally medium-depth, warm, and have good structure. Liqueur wines prepared with Moscatel grapes are very generous, aromatic, and of excellent quality for dessert or as an aperitif.

The yield by hectare has a bad track record; it varies between 1,000 and 1,500 kg. Production on the island is subject to climatic whims, with production varying between one and three million kilos.

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