Grape harvest in La Geria: a feast for the senses
The special climatic conditions of the protected landscape of La Geria bring the first grape harvest in the entire northern hemisphere. If you are in Lanzarote this summer, we suggest seven plans that take in this wine-growing area, one of the most spectacular in the world.
1. Route through the inland villages
A visit to La Geria gives you the opportunity to stop in some of the island’s quiet inland villages. This exceptional area of vineyards covers 5,255 hectares and five municipalities, and includes rural villages such as Masdache, Vega de Tegoyo, La Asomada, Conil, Mozaga and El Islote. The best way to explore the surroundings is to wander along the paths of Montaña Blanca, Tinasoria, Masdache, El Cabezo or Juan Bello and visit the small family wineries, the guardians of traditional methods of wine production.
2. Visit La Caridad Chapel
It is worth visiting the Ermita de La Caridad, a chapel that dates back to 1706 and is an example of traditional Lanzarote architecture with its single nave and hipped roof. The building was buried in the Caldera de los Cuervos eruption in 1730 but was not damaged. The faithful saw this as a miracle from the Virgen de la Caridad, who has been the patron saint of La Geria ever since. Her feast day is celebrated in August, and you may well stumble across an improvised stand celebrating her with timples and singing.
3. Grape treading in the winepress
This may be the most exciting grape harvest in the world. It’s also the first in the entire northern hemisphere, due to the weather conditions in La Geria. So, if you are in Lanzarote in August, we suggest you find a way to join in. Some wineries invite you to tread the grapes in the press in the traditional way. We‘re sure that this experience will help you understand the heroic work behind our viticulture. It requires the ongoing maintenance of the sheltering walls that protect the hollows from the wind, delicate pruning and constant monitoring of the humidity conditions provided by the mulch of lapilli (volcanic ash). All this, with no help from machinery, which would damage the landscape. Don’t miss the experience.
4. Wine and enyesque at the foot of the volcano
After work you need to recover your strength and there is no better way than stopping off at one of the bodegas that offer enyesques (snacks or tapas) based on local cheeses, figs, potatoes, goat’s meat, chickpeas or marinated pork. You‘ll soon find out that these products taste better when gazing at a volcano and paired with Lanzarote‘s magmatic wines. This unique experience can be enjoyed at Bodegas La Geria, overlooking the stunning landscape of vineyards and volcanoes.
5. Gourmet treat
If you are an aficionado in the world of oenology, the El Grifo winery offers a tasting of volcanic wines led by its experts. Get first-hand knowledge of the different varieties grown in La Geria, which have been harvested since July, starting with listán negro and continuing with malvasía volcánica, listán blanca, negra mulata, diego and moscatel de Alejandría, according to their ripening point. The originality of Lanzarote‘s wines has earned them numerous international awards and many of the best restaurants in the world feature labels of the ‘Vinos de Lanzarote’ Denomination of Origin on their menus.
6. Immersion in wine culture
Now that you have sampled the wines of La Geria, you may want to know more about its viticulture, which is a symbol of the resilience of Lanzarote’s farmers as they bring fruit from a land ravaged by lava. There are many places where that will take your imagination back to the island’s volcanic period. In the Bodegas El Grifo Museum there is a covered wine press from 1775, and the ancestral home of what was once the Cortijo de La Geria has been recovered by Bodegas Rubicón and shows the rooms as they must have looked in their time of splendour. At a crossroads in the centre of the island stands the Casa Museo del Campesino, the work of César Manrique, which is a tribute to traditional architecture, agriculture, crafts and gastronomy.
7. Sharing the experience
One of the advantages of having come into contact with the farming tradition of La Geria is that you can relive the memories, no matter how far away you are. If you want to share the knowledge you have acquired with your friends back home, get hold of a few bottles of the wines that have moved you most. You can do this at the wineries themselves, at the Casa Museo del Campesino or at the airport. Don’t worry about the hustle and bustle of the journey because the bottles are well protected in suitable containers. It is not easy to find them outside the island because we islanders like our wines so much that we consume almost half of our annual production ourselves. But you also have another option – come back soon to enjoy your favourite Malvasia!