The Canary Islands are perhaps best known for their otherworldly landscapes and warm temperatures that draw millions of tourists every year.
Spectacular razor-sharp cliffs, golden sand dunes, seemingly endless coastline and the lunar-like terrain of Lanzarote are far better known than the region’s wines.
Because of the hot and humid tropical conditions that prevail here, the Canary Islands are not, in theory, ideal for growing grapes.
But they have individual climatic and topographical features that make wine production possible.
The altitude of the stone-terrace vineyards is vital and for the majority, it ranges from 1640ft to 3280ft (500m–1000m) – sometimes even higher.
This ensures that freshness and acidity are maintained in the grapes. Another important factor is the soil, which is largely derived from the islands' volcanic activity.
The soil imparts mineral and subtle, salty notes to the otherwise largely aromatic local wines.
A vast range of indigenous grapes are grown for wine, and international varieties are largely absent.
Listan Blanco (Palomino), Malvasia, Marmajuelo, Listan Negro and Tintilla are just some of the authorized grapes.
The local varieties are suited to the sub-tropical climate and achieve high must weight, a reason the trend has been to produce sweet wines, including fortified ones aged oxidatively.
Some are regarded as being of extremely high quality and demand high prices due to their complex nature.
The production of quality wines is aided by the islands' overall growing conditions as well as the age of the vines (phylloxera never reached here and imported rootstock was not needed).
The Canaries’ largest island, Tenerife, houses half of the region’s DOs: Abona, Tacoronte-Acentejo, Valle de Guimar, Valle de la Orotava and Ycoden-Daute-Isora.
The remaining designations cover the islands (in their entirety) of El Hierro, Gran Canaria, La Gomera, La Palma and Lanzarote.
Each area has a unique microclimate and soil composition, lending to distinctive wines with signature mineral notes.
|Back to Index|