The Strange Volcanic Vineyards Of The Canary Islands Will Blow Your Mind

The wines made from the vineyards grown on the Canary Islands are world-famous. Many famous wine lovers have mused over the wines made from the grapes of the volcanic vineyards. Some might argue that the hot and humid climate of the islands might not seem conducive to grape growing and produce quality wines. Add volcanic activity, extreme winds and storms to the mix and we can agree that these conditions don’t exactly make for the ideal winemaking environment. Surprisingly enough, the Canary Islands produce fantastic and fascinating wines and unusual vistas unlike any other wine region on planet earth.

Wine Regions of the Canary Islands

Six out of the seven Canary Islands produce wine, each delivering a unique style of vino to the world. There are 13 wineries and 225 vineyards in total and DO appellations cover the entire island except for Tenerife. All D.O. areas are distinctive in that it has its own micro-climate and specific soil composition, creating unique, organoleptic-rich wines. Volcanic eruptions are terrible for vineyards, but only briefly. Once the lava cools, the volcanic soil left behind creates delicious wine that is lean, racy, and mineral. Overall, mountainous geography, elevated vineyards, and volcanic soil tend to define the Canary Islands’ terroir.

Grapes and Wines

White grapes make up the majority of the Canary Islands’ wine production. Many moons ago Canarian winemakers favored the Malvasia grape and created a sweet, syrupy wine from it. The liquid nectar was hit among foreign explorers and also good for transport. Over time sweet wines fell out of fashion and modern-day tourists were looking for dry and easy-drinking wines to sip on beachside. As luck would have it, the islands’ mountain elevations and mineral-rich soil offer the ideal environment for the production of dry and acidic white wines.

As for the grapes, international varieties are rarely seen in the Canary Islands. Most winemakers favour and use indigenous grapes from vines that have been planted centuries ago. The weird and unfamiliar varieties make for a much more unique and interesting wine tasting experience. Popular wines to produced on the Canary Islands wine region to try include Malmsey or Malvasia, Moscatel dessert wine, Marmajuelo, Tintilla, Rosé, and Listan Negro and Listan Blanco.

Vineyards and Vines

The landscape of the wine areas in the Canary Islands is diverse and unlike anything else in the world. Take Lanzarote for instance. Thanks to its volcanic history, most of the island has treeless, moonlike terrain with different coloured soils, bizarre rock formations and gently sloping mountains. Greenery is almost completely absent from most of Lanzarote. However, in some inland areas, grapevines peek out of the grey-black volcanic soil.

For the most part, post-eruption Lanzarote has become an ideal wine-growing region. The new layer of nutrient-rich volcanic soil is ideal for farming fruits. The spongy consistency of the sod allows it to absorb water quickly and retain moisture for long periods of time. The ash also acted as a kind of insulator, keeping the soil temperature consistent even if the air temperature fluctuates. But it’s aslo hard making wine in the Canary Islands. Everything sprouts and grass gets cut 10 times a year!

Wine Bodegas in the Canary Islands

There are plenty of wine destinations catering to all kinds and tastes in the Canary Islands. Many establishments offer unique private tours that combine sightseeing with culinary experiences. Check out one of the highest vineyards in Spain on the slopes of the Mount Teide volcano or enjoy a wine hike for connoisseurs. When visiting the Canary Islands, there are plenty of wine options to pick and choose from.

Unusual wines crafted with a great amount of passion and perseverance, sun-soaked beaches, and volcanic eruptions. Sounds like the dream vacation destination to me!