Lanzarote’s Grape Harvest

The Canaries has the earliest grape harvest in the northern hemisphere, thank to your spectacular climate. We asked the team at Wine Tours Lanzarote what to expect and they sent us this detailed report with photos, on how the harvest works and what we can expect from the 2022 wines, which we’ll soon be drinking.

They also gave us a tip off that the harvest at Bodegas El Grifo will start this year on 20th July.

Here’s what they told us:

Harvest will shortly commence on Lanzarote, typically it begins from mid-July to end of July depending on the year. This makes it the first harvest in Europe!

The Malvasia Volcanica grape native to Lanzarote is the first grape to be harvested. El Grifo are typically the first to commence and produce a Sparkling Wine with the first collection of grapes. The last grapes to be collected will be those used for the sweet wines which need lots of ripeness, hence more time on the vine. This harvest can be at the end of August, even through September.

Harvest is incredibly labour intensive in the heat of the summer, although typically it is carried out early in the morning when the land is at its coolest (it also helps to keep the grapes fresh). A rule from the regulatory board is that the collection has to be done by hand. The basket size contains approximately 20KG and means that grapes are kept fresh and undamaged. A hand collection means only the finest grapes are collected, and importantly are not damaged with machines. In any case, in Lanzarote machines could not be used due to the terrain. With many vines at the bottom of 3 meter pits, this really makes back breaking work!

This year the expected yield is around 1.5m KG, lower than the 2m KG collected in 2021. This is a result of recent warm and dry winters, though grape quality is unaffected.

The harvest is a big logistical challenge for some of the larger bodegas, some of which will buy grapes from up to 300 farmers. This process is though controlled to the wineries who will analyse the grapes ahead of calling the harvest. These grapes will be collected and delivered to the winery by the farmer.

Lanzarote wines are famously young, fresh and vibrant. The wine making style for many wines is therefore relatively short. We would expect the first wines to hit the shelves towards the end of September, and typically it makes it the first wine to be bottled in the Northern Hemisphere!

The team here at Wine Tours get involved with the harvest at one of the smaller wineries each year, and 2022 will be no different. It is always an exciting time to be in the vineyards and seeing the 2022 vintage start to unfold!

Our thanks to them for the information, and you can enjoy Lanzarote wines delivered to your door, via the Wine Shop Lanzarote.