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Regions

Comprehensive description of all European growing areas, their grape varieties, traditions and legal rules with maps.

Description to Canary islands

The Canary Islands (Spanish: Canarias), a group of islands belonging to Spain and covering about 7,500 km², are located in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of Africa. That is 1,100 km from mainland Spain, but the easternmost island, Lanzarote, is only 100 kilometres from Africa(Morocco). When the Romans landed on the island of Fuerteventura in ancient times, they found numerous packs of wild dogs, so they named the island "Insula Canaria" (Island of Dogs). In 1402, a Spanish ship landed on Gran Canaria and found the original Guanche population there, living as they did in the Stone Age. The Spaniards and Portuguese brought their native grape varieties with them until the end of the century and founded viticulture. At that time, sweet, alcohol-heavy wines were popular, made from the white varieties Moscatel and Malvasia. The wine was called "canary sack" and was exported in large quantities to England and northern Europe. By the time of William Shakespeare (1564-1616), the island wine was already famous; in "What You Will", Sir Toby Belch asks for "a cup of canary".

The seven main islands are Fuerteventura, La Gomera, Gran Canaria, El Hierro, Lanzarote, La Palma and Tenerife; wine is grown on all of them. They are volcanic islands, the last eruption took place on La Palma in 1971. For this reason, the soil is volcanic and ideally suited for viticulture. The subtropical climate, which is pleasant and constant throughout the year, has earned the archipelago the nickname "Islands of Eternal Spring". The flora is characterised by a high diversity of species and a high proportion of autochthonous plant species. The vineyards cover around 9,000 hectares. A special feature are the exclusively ungrafted vines, as the archipelago was largely spared from phylloxera.

The most important red wine variety is Almuñeco (Listán Negro) with over 4,500 hectares. Others are Baboso Negro (Alfrocheiro), Cabernet Sauvignon, Castellana Negra (Rufete), Moscatel Negro (Listán Prieto), Negramoll, Pinot No ir, Syrah, Tempranillo, Tintilla (Trousseau Noir) and Vijariego Negro (Sumoll). The most important white wine variety is Listán Blanco (Palomino), others are Albillo Criollo, Baboso Blanco (Cayetana Bl anca), Burra Blanca (Airén), Forastera Blanca (Chelva), Gual (Malvasia Fina), Malvasía de la Palma (Malvasia di Lipari), Malvasía de Lanzarote, Marmajuelo, Moscatel (Muscat Blanc), Pedro Ximénez, Verdello and Vijariego. Both the red and white wines are characterised by a light but clearly tangible mineral note.

Kanarische Inseln - Karte

El Hierro

The Englishman John Hill first planted vines here in 1626. The terraced vineyards of the DO area of the same name with almost 300 hectares of vineyards reach up to 700 metres above sea level. It is best known for white wines made from the Vijariego Blanco variety. These account for around 70% of production and are also made from the other Canary varieties. The red wines are mainly made from Listán Negro and Negramoll. The best sweet wines are made from noble rot grapes.

Gran Canaria

The DO area of the same name comprises around 450 hectares of vineyards at an altitude of up to 850 metres above sea level (the former second DO area Monte Lentiscal has been abandoned or integrated). The vineyards are located around the capital Las Palmas and in the north-east of the island. The most famous wine, which also established the DO status, is "Tinto del Monte" (mountain wine) from the Listán Negro variety.

La Gomera

With 370 km² the second smallest island. The DO area of the same name covers around 100 hectares of vineyards on steeply terraced slopes fortified with stone walls.

Lanzarote

In 1730, there was a volcanic eruption that lasted six years and covered the entire island with a layer of lapilli (small stones) and black ash. The DO area, which covers the entire island, comprises around 2,300 hectares of vineyards in the five municipalities of Haría, San Bartolomé, Teguise, Tinajo and Yaiza. It is divided into four subzones: La Geria in the south, San Bartolomé -Tías in the centre, Tinajo in the west and Haría - Ye in the north. The climate is extremely dry. The vines are planted in artificially created hollows (hoyos) up to three metres deep and enclosed with semicircular stone walls made of basaltic lava boulders to protect them against the north-east trade winds and drying out. A speciality is fortified sweet wines with a high alcohol content. The best wines are made from vines up to a hundred years old. The bodega "El Grifo", founded as early as 1775, runs a wine museum worth seeing and is famous for its Malvasia wines.

Kanarische Inseln - Lanzarote - Reben in Mulden (Hoyos)

La Palma

This is also known as "La Isla Bonita" (the beautiful island). The DO area of the same name with over 1,000 hectares of vineyards consists of the three subzones Fuencaliente-Las Manchas, Hoyo de Mazo and Norte del Palma. 80% of the white wines are made from the classic varieties. The sweet wines produced from noble rotten berries are partly spritted. A speciality is the white wine "Vino de Tea" from Albillo. It is named after a native type of pine tree from which the 500-litre barrels are made for ageing.

Tenerife

With just under 2,000 km², the largest of the Canary Islands. There are five DO areas here. The southern DO area of Abona covers 2,200 hectares at an altitude of up to 1,800 metres. The Tacoronte-Acentejo DO area on the west coast covers 1,800 hectares and is named after the towns of Tacoronte and La Victoria de Acentejo. The climatically hottest DO area Ycoden-Daute-Isora covers the entire green northwest of the island. It is named after the ancient Guanche kingdoms of Ycode and Daute, as well as the realm of Princess Isora. The steep vineyards at up to 1,400 metres above sea level cover 1,600 hectares. Garachico developed into the main export port of the famous "Canary Sack". The DO area Valle de Güímar covers 750 hectares and is named after the valley of the same name. The vineyards here are located at an altitude of up to 1,400 metres above sea level. The DO area Valle de la Orotava covers 700 hectares and is named after the town of Orotava on the northwest coast.

Producers

Well-known producers in the Canary Islands include Bodega Comarcal Valle de Güimar, Bodegas El Grifo, Bodega El Lomo, Bodega El Níspero, Bodegas Flores, Bodegas Insulares Tenerife, Bodega Llanovid, Bodegas Monje, Bodegas Mozaga, Bodegas Reverón, Bodega Tajinaste, Bodega Tomás Guzmán Mesa Rodríguez, Bodega Viña Chagua, Bodegas Viñátigo, Coop. Cumbres de Abona and Juan Jesús Méndez Siverio.

Map: Bernd Ramm Goruma
Lanzarote vineyards: © Dr. Peter Bezold

In this section you will find
currently 144,847 Wines and 22,903 Producers, including 2,432 classified producers.
Rating system Their sources in Wine Guide Wine Samples

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