Think of the Canary Islands and your mind will conjure up sun, sea and of course, sand — but not necessarily wine. In actual fact, the Canary Islands have been producing cups ‘of canary’ for centuries – Shakespeare himself was a fan, with references to the island wines appearing in Twelfth Night and Henry VI. So, read on to discover why the Canary Islands are a top destination for a top tipple!
The fertile, black volcanic soils of Lanzarote aren’t the obvious place for lush vines to grow, but actually the dry, warm climate and the volcanic bowls allow the low bush vines to thrive — although it’s hard for anything else to grow. Vines are buried holes and surrounded by stone walls to protect them from the wind. The region largely produces sweet white varieties, with a few reds that have a distinctive flavour thanks to the conditions. Not only does the wine taste great but the landscape is quite a sight to behold, with the black ash and green vines — just don’t forget to take your camera.
With over 2400 hectares under vine and over 50 wineries in total, Tenerife differs to Lanzarote in that its output is 90% red. Cooling Atlantic mists and a red, fertile soil produce these delicious island wines, including Abona and Valle de Guinar (the perfect complement to meat or fish). The wine-making process and equipment here is modern in comparison with other areas, making output higher.
You’ll have deserved a drink after all that sightseeing! Make sure you visit the Bodegas Teneguía: a winery, bar and eatery located in the area of the volcano of the same name. Try before you buy and sample wine that is shipped all over the world. La Palma produces Malmsey, a sweet wine famed across Europe since the seventeenth century.
Gran Canaria offers up aromatic, deep red wines. Make sure you visit the Santa Brigida wine museum, which is over two centuries old. Here you can try a variety of countless wines that the island has to offer as well as learning about the production involved and the area’s long history as a renowned wine exporter.
This island is very mountainous which means wine production is very intensive and takes longer. Vines here are grown up trellises and output is lower. Red grape varieties include Listán Negro, Negramoll, and Tintilla; for white, Malvasía, Gual, Marmajuelo and Albillo are all good choices.
So when you’re next thinking of booking a holiday, forget Italy or France – the Canary Islands are the perfect place to sample a glass of the good stuff. Just make sure you leave enough suitcase room to bring a few bottles back!
Image credit: Lanzarote