The ultimate Lanzarote wine guide
Tuesday, 9 November 2021
When we think of wine, the regions of Bordeaux, Tuscany and Napa Valley come to mind. However, the Canary Islands are often overlooked. This sunny archipelago was once renowned for its exquisite wine, and still produces some of Europe’s finest bottles today. If you’re setting off on a Canary Islands cruise, you’d be missing out by not sampling some of Lanzarote’s delicious wine.
The history of wine in Lanzarote
The Canary Islands were once famous for their wine. In the 1700s, the traditional wine of the islands, made from the Malvasia grape, was the choice of European royalty. In fact, it soon became so popular that it was the Canary Islands’ main source of income. Even William Shakespeare allegedly accepted barrels of Malvasia wine as payment for his work.
A series of devastating volcanic eruptions in Lanzarote, which started in 1730 and lasted for almost seven years, left a quarter of the island covered in lava and volcanic ash, resulting in the other-worldly landscape we know today. The land was no longer fertile, meaning no crops such as barley or wheat could grow. Instead, the locals attempted to create wine and found that Lanzarote’s uniquely humid climate provided enough water to help the vines flourish.
Although Lanzarote began producing wine much later than its Canarian neighbours, the desolate yet enchanting island came to produce some of Europe’s finest wines. Because of this, it was granted DO status in 1993, making it one of Spain’s official wine regions. Today, there is an ever-growing number of bodegas (wineries) on the island crafting wines and open to visitors.
READ MORE: Must-try Canary Island’s food specialities
What wine is made in Lanzarote?
The wines produced in Lanzarote are typically white wines, made from the Malvasia grape variety. The most famous tipple made on the island is the Lanzarote sweet wine known as Malmsey. This, like all wines on the island, has a unique flavour due to the volcanic soil present. The wines produced here tend to be crisp and refreshing, perfect for enjoying on a hot summer or even winter’s day, as the Canary Islands enjoy pleasantly warm sunshine year-round.
Bodegas to visit whilst in Lanzarote
While you may associate vineyards with rolling hills and row upon row of perfectly formed grapevines, Lanzarote’s vineyards are totally unique. To grow crops in these somewhat desolate landscapes, wineries create endless rows of dimple-like craters and stone circles. These structures, called zocos, are created for each individual vine and provide much-needed shelter from the wind. As well as being practical, the zocos make visiting vineyards in Lanzarote a truly surreal experience.
If you want to experience it for yourself whilst on the island, here are some of our suggested Bodegas to visit.
An essential visit on any Lanzarote wine tasting tour is Bodegas El Grifo, the oldest bodega on the islands. El Grifo was first established in 1775 and still makes wines to this day in the protected La Geria region. They specialise in Malvasía Volcánica and hand-harvest all of their crops. You can visit them for a guided tour of the winery, their on-site museum and vineyard.
Vega de Yuco
Another popular winery on the island is Bodegas Vega de Yuco. Creating organic wines and offering vineyard tours, here you can learn not only about the bodega but Lanzarote’s wine-making history too.
Bodegas Los Bermejos is another that needs to be mentioned when discussing wine production in Lanzarote. More off-the-beaten-track than others, taking a tour here is well worth the trip and many people return every time they are on the island to this beloved winery.
Vulcano de Lanzarote
Bodegas Vulcano may be one of the youngest wineries on the island, but unlike other wineries, it produces wine throughout the year. It produces up to 50,000 bottles a year, focusing on five distinct wines – dry, semi-sweet, rose, young red and dessert wine. If you can’t make it to the bodega itself, look out for their wines in restaurants throughout Lanzarote.
For those of you wishing to take a complete journey through the process of winemaking in Lanzarote, Bodegas Rubicon has everything you need. The vineyard itself dates back three centuries, and its exhibition and tasting rooms, as well as the old family home, are free to visit. The winery also has a fantastic restaurant where you can enjoy tapas with your perfectly paired wine.
The Wine Run Lanzarote
Not a bodega but something that’s worth seeing if you are on the island at the right time, is the Wine Run in Lanzarote. The Lanzarote Wine Run is one of the most unusual sporting events in the world. Participants choose between a 22.3-kilometre race and a 12.7-kilometre walk through the wine territory of La Geria, stopping at bodegas along the way for a refreshing taste of wine. Once the runners and walkers have reached the finish line, they can enjoy the food festival, which welcomes restaurants, cheese producers, wineries and bakeries to indulge in a taste of the Canary Islands.
READ MORE: 10 Canary Islands facts you didn’t know
For wine lovers, Lanzarote should certainly be one of the highlights of a Canaries cruise holiday. So, whether you decide to visit a bodega and enjoy the otherworldly vineyards or just sit back and sip on some Malvasia in a restaurant, you’re sure to be impressed.
For more tips, guides, and advice, make sure to visit our blog.