Visiting the Lanzarote vineyards is definitively one of the surprising activities to do on the island. Considering the desert like conditions and the volcanic soil, it is fascinating to learn how the wineries have established the agriculture and prospered. Here is my guide to help you plan your wine adventure including the famous La Geria wineries and the museum at El Grifo winery.
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The Unique Lanzarote vineyards
Don't miss the them! One of the top things to do in Lanzarote is discover the unique vineyards on the volcanic soil.
Being French, I love the beautiful scenery created by vineyards.
But on the island in Lanzarote, those lines of vines are pretty unique, especially when there is a volcano in the background!
Just have a look at one of my favorite photos from the island:
The Lanzarote vineyards are located mostly in the center of the island between volcanoes.
It is quite impressive to see those plants growing on the black soil when there is nothing else around.
I will explain in the next section how they are able to grow vines in such a harsh environment.
But for the moment, I am just sharing a few more photos to show you how unique the views of those vines are. A pleasure to photograph!
How does the wine grow on Lanzarote?
Before I tell you all about how to visit and experience this unique feature of Lanzarote, here is a summary about the technics used to make wine on the island.
Let's remember the conditions:
- NO RAIN - Lanzarote has an almost desert climate and no high summits in the middle, so it gets less than 200mm a year and mostly along the coast. So growing anything is a challenge
- BARREN SOIL - The canary islands are of volcanic nature. Lanzarote has has giant eruption as late as the 18th century and a small one in 1824. Therefore a lot of the island is covered in volcanic soil: ashes, solidified lava, rocks... Not fertile land!
- STRONG WIND - Like its neighbour Fuerteventura, Lanzarote gets a lot of wind (sometimes even coming from the Sahara) and there are no high summits to stop it
And here are the solutions that have been found:
- To manage the lack of rain:
The whole ground is covered in 'picon', a type of small volcanic ash rock. The depth reaches 50cm to 3m, depending on the distance to the volcano.
This has the particularity to be able to keep humidity, rain and dew as well as avoid evaporation. It provides just what's needed to grow grapes because there are no irrigation at all any of the vines!
Because of the limited supply of water and fertile land, the vines mostly grow close to the ground
- And to protect against the wind...
Plus the local have built small walls to protect the plants from the trade winds.
The typical protection is in semi circle but you can also find straight wall has its make the handmade harvest easier
How to visit the vineyards in Lanzarote with Wine tastings
So do you want to check them out and taste their produce?
Here are your options:
The wineries of Lanzarote
Lanzarote has many wineries of different size. They are called Bodega:
- La Geria, the most visited on the island, located in the main wine valley where all the coaches stop
- Rubicon, just across the road from la Geria
- Bodega Stratvs just North of them (modern winery)
- El Grifo, the oldest in the Canary island and my favorite (I am sharing more about it further in the article)
- and many other smaller one if you want to discover more: La Querencia, La Florida, Vega de Yuco...
They are all easily accessed by cars.
Winery tours of Lanzarote
However if you don't plan on hiring a car, you can join an organised tour to discover the vineyards of Lanzarote:
- HALF-DAY - Combine a tour of La Geria wine valley with a discovery of Timanfaya National Park to see the destruction, marvels and creation from volcanic eruptions - half-day excursion - Check out program and book
- FULL DAY - To get an overall view of the island, you can go for a full day excursion that will include the Timanfaya national Park, the unique Jameos del Agua lava tubes reimagined by César Manrique and the La Geria Valley - Check out program and Book
- WALK - If you are fit, take in some of great views of the island on this 9km walk in the La Geria Valley to reach to 3rd highest point on the island and then relax and taste delicious wine as a reward 🙂 - Check out program and book
Check out all my favorite Lanzarote excursions on my article here.
La Geria Lanzarote winery
As I said earlier, La Geria is the most visited of the wineries on Lanzarote.
It was founded at the end of the 19th century by the Rijo family and is now run by the Melian family.
It is located in the Natural park of La Geria. Its barren landscape was created by the 18th century volcanic eruptions.
Its most famous wines are sweet muscat and Malvaisa.
The shop is free access.
I am sorry I did not take better picture.
But the best part are the views!
From the Bodega building you have great views of the whole valleys with all the semi-circle walls and crops.
Even though I think it is not as pretty as the El Grifo vineyards we will see later, it is certainly the most impressive area. It spreads between all the volcanoes for kilometers.
Check out the photos below:
El Grifo vineyards & wines
My favorite winery was El Grifo.
It has a vineyard and a museum about the wine agriculture in Lanzarote.
El Grifo is the oldest winery in the Canary islands and one of the 10 oldest in Spain.
It is part of the large protect natural park of La Geria but not in the center where the most visited wineries are.
The current owners purchased it in 1880. Today the fifth generation is running it.
I love that the volcano at the top of the slope with its red colour. It was so photogenic!
I love their logo and how they have placed metal version of it against the traditional white building walls.
César Manrique created the logo for the El Grifo winery: a Griffin which is a mythological animal half eagle half lion.
He also designed the label for the medium-sweet wine because it was its favorite wine.
You can see different structures on the 60 ha land: The semi-circle walls, the straight walls and a few bigger circular structures.
Because the Phylloxera parasite never reached the island, some of the muscatel plants are 100 to 200 years old.
The production is small: around 1000kg per hectare.
El Grifo wine and tasting
The bottles of El Grifo wine are beautiful and their products excellent.
My brother is the real connoisseur and I brought him back a bottle. He was really surprised and impressed.
There is a large selection for you to choose from:
You can just visit the shop and some products or you can pay to enter the museum and do some tasting.
They offer different entry price depending on how many wines you want to taste (starting from 5 euros).
And the best part is that they have created different spaces for you to sit and enjoy the tasting. It is very enjoyable and not a tourist machine.
El Grifo museum
The other advantage of visiting the El Grifo winery in Lanzarote is that they have their own museum dedicated to the wine culture on the island.
They have gathered many tools to discover.
It is a great activity when it is very hot as you cool down in the white buildings.
You can visit several buildings with many tools and set up used throughout the periods to produce wine.
The museum has among other displays:
- an 18th century press beam
- a vertical press from the 19th century
- Set up with lagar to crush the grapes and lagareta to filter
- Tools and materials to make barrels
The evolution of the tools and techniques is similar as in other wine regions, but its was several decades behind because of the remoteness of the Canary islands.
A small cactus garden was also set up around the museum building. It is not impressive like the famous Lanzarote Cactus garden but it is still quite enjoyable with a few funny species.
Coordinates of La Geria and El Grifo wineries are in my eBook.
And if you are renting a car and want to see the most beautiful places in Lanzarote, check out my eBook to plan your exploration:
Plan your trip to Lanzarote with:
- 7 easy-to-plan Maps
- 44 Scenic locations in Lanzarote
- 19 Scenic locations in Fuerteventura
- Best times to visit and photograph
- GPS coordinates and planning information to make the most of your time
Want to see more of the CANARY ISLANDS?
Ready to taste?
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