Kate Simon: Say cheers on Lanzarote – the wine isn't half bad

Travel View

Hands up. When I was invited to visit a vineyard while I was in Lanzarote last week, I didn't hold out much hope of actually liking the grog.

Why? I suppose I hadn't thought that this holiday island in the Canaries would be a destination to delight oenophiles. Needless to say, I was in for a pleasant surprise; the whites, reds and rosés produced out of Lanzarote's volcanic ash are a revelation.

There are about 18 commercial vineyards on Lanzarote – with thousands of private growers tending patches of vines across the island, too – and the low yield of grapes means that you shouldn't expect to pop down to your local off-licence to pick up a bottle to try. On Lanzarote, many of the wines are available only at very few outlets, and the furthest most of them travel is to neighbouring islands in the Canaries, though Europe is beginning to get a look in.

Many of the vineyards can be found around La Geria, on the road between San Bartolomé and Playa Blanca, in the lap of a range of brooding volcanoes. Vines were first planted on Lanzarote in the 18th century after a series of devastating eruptions made it impossible to cultivate much else. You don't have to like wine to enjoy this extraordinary landscape; the eerie black fields are dressed with small crescents of stone that cradle the green vines. It's a traditional method of planting that is now losing favour; today regimented lines, as seen around the El Grifo winery, are preferred because they promise to increase the yield threefold.

El Grifo may be harnessing new techniques, but it's also the Canaries' first vineyard, founded in 1775, and one of the oldest in Spain. With a nod to its longevity, the winery hosts a museum in its old wine cellar, where you can see some of the tools used for viticulture over the centuries. But it must be said, this is a dull info-lite exhibition that desperately needs updating for a 21st-century audience and is barely worth the €4 (£3.50) entrance fee apart from the tasting at the end.

More interesting is a tour of Lanzarote's newest vineyard, Stratvs, a modern complex that opened in 2009 with a large winery, two restaurants, and a shop. There, you can take a guided tour and learn from an expert about how the vines are planted, the varieties grown – malvasia and moscatel dominate – and see where the grapes are processed.

Once you've tried a glass of Lanzarote wine, I guarantee you'll be hunting out the local sauce for the rest of your holiday.

***

If you are heading for Lanzarote any time soon, drop into La Cantina, at Calle Leon y Castillo 8, in the charming former capital of Teguise. This old whitewashed building was recently turned into something more than its rather bald name suggests by owners Benn and Zoe.

Music nights, a cinema club, and a vintage shop complement the core activity of drinking and dining in this warren of rooms with an open-air courtyard at its heart. Plus, the menu offers welcome relief from the island's rather same-ish restaurant fare, with choices such as Vietnamese rolls featuring alongside locally sourced tapas of Canarian cheeses, potatoes, and cured meats, and piquant mojo dipping sauces.

Do you have a travel issue?

Email: sundaytravel@independent.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Kellie Bright as Linda Carter and Danny Dyer as Mick Carter

EastEnders Christmas specials are known for their shouty, over-the-top soap drama but tonight the show has done itself proud thanks to Danny Dyer.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy
tvCall the Midwife Christmas Special
Sport
Laura Trott and Jason Kenny are preparing for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
sport
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth with Tess Daly in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
tvLouis Smith wins with 'Jingle Bells' quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas Special
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there