Landscapes of Lanzarote, Volcanic Vineyards

You like a drop of vino and you live in a place that enjoys year-round sunshine…trouble is there’s very little rainfall and your island has no natural water sources.

Humans are such adaptable creatures that a couple of little obstacles like those aren’t likely to put them off producing their favourite tipple. On Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, islanders developed a system that not only keeps them stocked up with rather quaffable white wines (Malvasia & Muscatels) but, in the La Geria region especially, one that has also transformed the grim, black volcanic terrain into something quite surreal and beautiful.

Circular pits are excavated in the volcanic soil, deep enough to reach the more fertile soil below, and vines are planted in the centre. The pit serves two purposes; the first is that its depth protects the plant from the wind (a regular visitor to Lanzarote). The second is that the volcanic soil retains moisture incredibly well, drawing dampness from the occasional clouds that pass over, so that even in the absence of rainfall, the plant receives enough water for it to flourish…and we all get to reap the rewards of whichever bright spark came up with this quite unique and unusual system.

If Luke Skywalker had gone into the wine producing business instead of taking on the Empire, I suspect his vineyard would have looked something like this.




2 Comments

  1. Great photo! It’s really hard to capture the bizarre wine landscape in Lanzarote with the bright sunlight and dark picón. It really is like moonscape 🙂

  2. Thanks Jules,

    I saw the most wonderful photo of the wine pits of La Geria in a book and have wanted to photograph them ever since. But time was short and although the spot wasn’t perfect,I was glad to get a couple of shots of them. The sun was mostly obscured by clouds that day so no glare.

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