The half day Volcanoes & Wine Tour offers a fascinating insight into the history of the island and how our wine region was created following the volcanic eruption 1730-1736. This is a new excursion available in Lanzarote for Summer 2018, which we went on this week.
This tour is one for history buffs as well as foodies, as it includes a wine & cheese tasting at Bodegas el Grifo, the oldest winery on the island.
We started at the Timanfaya Visitor’s Centre situated in the Montañas del Fuego / Fire Mountains national park. Our guide gave us an interesting summary into volcanology so that we understood the type of volcanoes we can find in Lanzarote. We also learned about the life of people before, during and after the eruptions of Timanfaya, including some insight about the pre-hispanic civilisation that lived on the island before the colonisation of 1402.
Next we visited el Cuervo, a stunning example of a monogenetic volcano that started the eruption in 1730 and was responsible for the deep volcanic ash found in the La Geria wine region of Lanzarote. This volcano has a crater that you can walk down into. The entrance has a stunning display of spatter cone, created by the hot bubbling lake of magma.
The last stop on this excursion is a tour of the oldest winery in Lanzarote, it’s also the oldest in the Canaries and amongst the ten oldest in Spain, so there’s a lot of history here as well as fabulous wine!
El Grifo have a wine museum where you can find equipment dating back to the 19th century. This winery have vines that have been maintained since 1881. Their Griffin sculpture at the entrance was designed by César Manrique who also created the label for their semi-sweet Malvasía wine.
After a tour of the premises, we tasted a fabulous selection of 3 very different wines:
*Malvesía Brut an impressive sparkling wine made in the traditional method
*Ariana an award winning red made from a combination of Listán Negro & Syrah
*Canari which is the closest sweet wine available to that enjoyed by Shakespeare, produced from a coupage of wine ranging from 1956 to 1997. Harvested late, when the Malvasía grape was almost reduced to a raisin.
We enjoyed our tasting that much, we purchased a bottle of the Malvesía Brut (€17.50) and Canari (€32.50) to take home with us!
Throughout the excursion we were treated to gems of history snippets, not just about the original inhabitants, or the timeline of the 6 years eruption and volcanoes, but fascinating connections tying Lanzarote to the UK. We don’t want to spoil the details, but to give you a taster here’s two of the characters we talked about.
George Glas was a sailor and merchant from Scotland who was arrested in Lanzarote and murdered on his voyage back home with his family, after spending a year incarcerated in prison. Bodegas El Grifo produced a fantastic sweet red dessert wine from Listán Negro (similar to port) under his name. They also have an original copy of his book entitled “The History of the Discovery and Conquest of the Canary Islands” printed in 1764, which is stored in their private library.
Sir Walter Raleigh was executed in 1618 following an incident in Lanzarote during his expedition to find another El Dorado.
This is a fascinating half day out in Lanzarote. The short walk is classed as an easy level, we’d recommend closed shoes as you are walking on volcanic ash. Transport is provided from your accommodation in the holiday resorts.
You can book this Volcanoes & Wine excursion direct with Eco-Insider, the cost is €49 per person.
We find days out with the Eco-Insider guides fascinating, we always learn something new despite having lived here for almost 2 decades.