The Canary Islands has long been a destination for those searching for sun-drenched sands and with warm temperatures year-round and the Atlantic ocean bordering the islands, it’s a haven for holidaymakers. Recently, these islands have seen a boom in another aspect: as a wine destination. With unusual volcanic vineyards and a range of interesting grapes to sample, here are the main reasons to choose the Canaries for your next wine vacation.
The Canary Islands got started with wine production in the 15th century, when grapevines were brought from Crete and planted on the island of Lanzarote. Since then the winemaking industry has steadily increased. Due to its geography, each island has it’s own variety of soil and microclimates. This leads to a whopping 10 D.O. (denominations of origin) that cover the islands. So a trek to almost any winery is going to result in a different tasting grape.
An added benefit of a guided wine tour here is that since the islands are all accessible via ferry from each other, a tour generally stays at one place longer. So there is less driving around and more enjoyment at each winery. This is not to mention the array of cheap holiday deals available for low-cost trips to islands like Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria.
How many people can say they drank a glass of wine with a volcano as their backdrop? The volcanoes give many of the wines a distinct flavor. For instance, a first time visitor in Lanzarote might think they took a wrong turn and ended up on the moon. With black ash soil interspersed along black bedrock, it truly is a special site. The grapevine is one of the only things that grows in this soil, and it gives wine grown from here a truly unique taste. Also, since the islands are remote, theyescaped the 19th century phylloxera (aphid-like insects) epidemic, leaving some vines over 100 years old.
If you decide that the Canary Islands is your idea of a more unusual wine holiday, there are many places to go. The island with the most wineries is Tenerife, with 42 bodegas, however the most unique experience belongs to Lanzarote, with its blackened soil and focus on sweet wine. Whatever your reason for taking in the Canary Islands, you won’t soon forget these lands of ancient rock, distinctive shores and row upon row of fresh green vines…
Images by IDS.photos and Tony Hisgett, used under Creative Comms license