Europe/Spain Published on 08/02/2023

Lanzarote, volcanic viticulture

Located in the Canary Islands, the Lanzarote vineyard is a unique example of viticulture in a volcanic environment, 3/4 of its surface being covered by lava. 


Vines arrived on Lanzarote in the 15th century with Spanish settlers who discovered that the island's mineral-rich volcanic soils were ideal for growing vines. Thus, the settlers brought vine plants with them during their colonization of the Canary Islands. The vines were then cultivated to produce wine for religious celebrations and special occasions. But it was from the 19th century that viticulture really took on importance on the island, in particular thanks to the growing demand for sweet wines for export.

The volcanic soil of Lanzarote is characterized by a layer of volcanic stones called "picón". This layer of black and fertile soils is the result of past volcanic eruptions (1730-1736 and 1824).

Although the picón makes viticulture difficult, it is actually beneficial to the vine, as it protects it from water evaporation and absorbs heat from the sun, releasing it at night to maintain root temperature. The grape varieties grown on the island are mainly local varieties, such as Malvasía Volcánica, Listán Blanco (Palomino Fino), Diego (Vijariego Blanco) and Listán Negro. These varieties have been selected for their ability to withstand strong winds, heat and drought.


The vines are planted in pits dug in the ground, called "hoyos". Stone walls are built around the hoyos to protect the vines from the wind. Because the island is strongly exposed to the north-east trade winds, constant winds which blow in particular from May to September. This method also collects moisture from morning dew and rain, water being a commodity more precious than gold on the island! Indeed, the reliefs of Lanzarote are not high enough to retain the clouds and the rainfall is generally less than 150 millimeters per year.

Among the most interesting areas of Lanzarote, are Puro Rofe, our favorite, to which we are going to devote an article, as well as the bodega Vega de Yuco. Their Esencia de Yaiza cuvée is a good example of Malvasía Volcánica: we find the characteristic aromas of the grape variety, such as tropical fruits (mango, guava, lychee), accompanied by aromas of white flowers and citrus fruits (blood orange, citrus).

Now it's your turn to go and have a taste!

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