One of my drive-by shots as we passed through the remarkable landscape of the La Geria wine valley in Lanzarote.
Despite strong winds and extremely low rainfall, wine has been successfully cultivated in this region since the volcanic eruption in the 1730s. Individual vines are grown in pits up to 3 metres wide and 2.5 metres deep, which are dug out of the black volcanic ash and usually partially enclosed by a low semi-circular dry-stone wall called a Zoco. The growers then pack picon, coarse granules of porous volcano rock, around the stem of the vine. This acts as a kind of mulch that facilitates water retention and maintains soil temperature, while also capturing moisture from the air. This method of dry cultivation is known as ‘enarenado’ and is unique to the island, but it prevents mechanisation and so all pruning and harvesting is done by hand. As such, yields are low compared to more conventional vineyards.
The wine produced in Lanzarote is predominantly of the Malvasía variety and generally sweet, fruity and aromatic. Admittedly, I’m not a massive fan of sweet wine, but I really enjoyed the dry and the medium sweet white varieties that I sampled copiously.