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Lanzarote is the northernmost and the easternmost island of The Canaries.
The island of eternal spring boasts a subtropical desert climate with long, dry summers and low precipitation.
These dry and dusty weather conditions, combined with nutrient-rich volcanic soil and some unique growing techniques make Lanzarote a fantastic place for growing grapes to make wine from.
The island is a popular tourist destination for travellers chasing warm weather and surreal landscapes.
While there is a wide variety of activities available on the island, wine tasting and vineyard tours are becoming increasingly popular.
The best way to immerse yourself in this world of flavour and culture is through an organised tour.
There are numerous wine tours on offer to visitors of Lanzarote, which we have detailed in this article.
These are, in our opinion, the best wine tours in Lanzarote.
History of Wine in Lanzarote
Between 1730 and 1736, Lanzarote was shaken by numerous volcanic eruptions.
These natural events permanently altered the geology of the island while destroying most of the traditional agriculture at the time.
While it became impossible to grow crops such as wheat again, this transformation created a solid foundation for the production of wine.
Warm and dry conditions are generally good for the production of wine.
The minimal rainfall meant that grape-growers had to come up with creative solutions to ensure the survival of the vines.
Local farmers started digging circular, wide holes, roughly 3m in diameter and 2.5m deep, which they called “zocos”.
They originally tried to dig past the volcanic ash to the nutrient-rich soil beneath, however, the local farmers discovered that the ash retained humidity.
Volcanic ash is also rich in nutrients and minerals which help the vines to grow.
Zocos offer outstanding protection to the plants from strong winds.
They often have a semi-circular stone wall to enhance shelter from coastal winds.
As ditches, they also provide thermo-regulation of the soil and harvest rainfall and overnight dew.
While impressive, these stone walls, or abrigos, make modernised mechanical harvesting impossible.
Grapes have to be picked by hand, which is a long and tedious task.
As the plants are more spaced out, less wine is grown in every square mile than more conventional growing methods.
In 1993, UNESCO declared Lanzarote a Biosphere Reserve and accredited with a DOP status for its wine.
Types of Wine in Lanzarote
Roughly 75% of all grapes grown on Lanzarote are Malvasia grapes.
The locals produce many different varieties of wine with these grapes.
The most famous wine produced on Lanzarote is locally known as Malmsey. This wine has a rich texture and a sweet flavour made from sun-dried malvasia grapes grown in volcanic soils.
As well as this deliciously sweet white wine, Lanzarote produces many other wines from different grapes. Moscatel, Deigo, Breval and Pedro Ximénez are just a few other grape varieties that are growing on the island.
The majority of wine produced is white, however, Lanzarote is known for medium-bodied reds and fruity rosés. The best way to experience the wine is to try a degustation of all the different flavours.
A decent bottle of wine from the local supermarkets costs around 4€ – 5€. A bottle directly from a Winery, such as Bodega los Bermejos, usually costs between 15€ and 20€ depending on the winery and the wine itself.
So now that we have discussed the history of winemaking, let’s talk about how to get some in you.
Best Organised Wine Tours
An excellent way to experience the wine culture in Lanzarote is to join an organised tour.
A combination of tasting and gentle exploration immerses you in some truly unique landscapes as well as into a universe of flavour.
The tour operators do all the driving.
You can relax knowing that you don’t have to stay sober enough to operate a car.
We have listed some of our favourite wine tours operators below. All prices are as of December 2020.
Wine Tours Lanzarote – 49€ per person
Wine Tours Lanzarote offer a half-day trip around three separate wineries.
They do their best to cover the entire spectrum of wineries in Lanzarote.
They cover both larger and more commercial wineries alongside smaller, family-run businesses.
The tour company like to limit the size of the groups they take on tour.
With a maximum group size of 8 people, you can guarantee a personal and intimate atmosphere.
You will be given six different local wines to sample, and any underaged family members are provided with soft drinks so that they too can experience the stunning landscapes where the wine is grown.
Wine Tours Lanzarote operate a door to door pickup service on the island, taking out the hard work of travelling to a starting location.
This service covers most of the main areas where tourists stay, and they do their best to accommodate those staying outside of these areas if you contact them personally.
They operate two tours a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. You can book either option by following the instructions on this link.
Lanzarote Winery Tour with Eco Insider – 75€ per person
Eco Insider offers a range of different tours of Lanzarote, including bird watching, guided walks and tours out to some of the more remote islands.
They also offer a full day wine tasting tour within the La Geria vineyard. This tour visits three separate wineries and provides a full Canarian lunch. They will also guide on you a walk through the vineyards and talk about the unique growing techniques used.
While slightly more expensive than Wine Tours Lanzarote, the full-day tour does provide lunch as well as local tapas.
What is particularly special is the company’s aim to educate visitors about the protected landscape, detailing the geology and culture of the area around the theme of local wine.
Eco Insider, like Wine Tours Lanzarote, also operate a door to door driving service.
This ensures that guests can fully relax without drinking too much to be over the legal driving limit.
They also run a blended tour, Lanzarote Volcanoes and Wine. This is perfect for those who want to learn about the geology a little more than on a standard wine tour.
You can book either tour through their online booking form.
Timanfaya National Park and La Geria Wine Tasting – from 39€ per person
The Timanfaya National Park and La Geria Wine Tasting is another blended tour with an emphasis on the stunning geothermal nature, sweetened with some local wine sampling.
While you will only visit one winery during this tour, you will get to combine this with a trip to the national park, to ride a camel through the volcanic area and to learn about the unstable volcanic past of the island. The whole tour takes roughly 5.5 hours, firstly spending half a day in the national park before stopping at a winery on the way back.
This is a great tour to take if you are travelling with your children.
Not only will you learn about the wine and get to taste some, but there is also plenty of entertainment for the kids.
This tour is another that provides a door to door pickup service all over the island.
You can book a place on this tour by going to this link, checking for the availability of the tour you would like to take and then follow the instructions.
Best Individual Wineries
Maybe you are already a wine expert, or simply want to take things at your own pace.
It is not required that you follow a guided tour to visit most of the wineries on the island, although it is generally much less informative as cellar hands tend to spend less time talking about the unique agricultural techniques adopted by the island.
Visitors typically spend 45 to 90 minutes at each winery. This varies depending on how chatty the staff are and how many wines there are to try.
When on a guided tour, the time spent at each winery is typically between 30 and 45 minutes. This is diminished as they tend to try to fit in as many as possible.
Here are a couple of wineries you can visit on your own accord.
The winemakers at Los Bermejos produce 14 different types of wine. A bottle of wine from Los Bermjos costs just 17€, regardless of variety.
They accept visits with prior reservation and allow you to purchase their wines from a small shop on site.
Bodega Los Bermejos is a very typical example of a local winery, using traditional growing and harvesting techniques combined with modern machinery to make the wine.
It is a great place to start your self-guided wine tour before you start to scratch a little deeper.
While the grapes are grown up in the hills, the Malpais de Maguez Winery sits a mere 150m from the ocean. This is a fantastic backdrop with which to try the wines, and unlike any other winery on the list.
The centuries-old European vines that produce the wine have adapted to the local climate over time. This means that the vines produce a small amount of fruit and mature very slowly.
Located adjacent to the Timanfaya National Park, the Bodega Statvs is built from local materials that blend it into the stunning landscape. This further plummets you into the world of local wine agriculture and the geological history of the island.
The internal and external architecture of the winery is truly unique, and the wine tastes excellent.
The grapes are grown with local traditional methods before the grapes are processed in state-of-the-art equipment to become the delicious wine you can taste today.
What is The Best Time of Year for Wine Tours?
The grape harvest in Lanzarote is in July.
While wine tours operate all year round, the time leading up to the grape harvest is when the vines look their most full and fantastic against the volcanic ash.
The climate in Lanzarote is extremely dry, and you can expect stable weather in any month that you visit.
If you are more interested in drinking the wine rather than seeing the landscapes in their prime, you may want to try to visit during an off-peak period.
This would mean you could experience the island with smaller crowds.
You would also find it easier to book wine tours without them being full.
Things To Be Aware Of on a Wine Tour
Most of the organised wine tours on the island operate with an “all-inclusive” style.
This ensures you don’t have to worry about anything except turning up on time at the pick-up point.
Here are some things you may want to bear in mind.
What to Wear
Standard wine tours have very little physical activity involved except the lifting of your drinking arm.
That being said, if you are visiting the vineyards, be aware that you are likely to be exposed to direct sunlight in warm conditions.
It is advisable to wear comfortable, closed footwear so that you can easily walk over the volcanic ashes. Bring sunscreen and, if possible, clothes that protect you from the sun.
If you are taking part in a blended tour that takes you through the national park, you may be partaking in some more strenuous exercise.
Be sure to know what you will be doing before and prepare accordingly.
Most organised tours have a door to door pick up service so you don’t have to worry about drinking and driving. Do check when booking your tour that this is included if necessary for you.
Also check where they want to pick you up from, as sometimes if you are staying somewhere remote, you may have to meander to a bus stop.
If you are visiting the wineries on your own accord, be sure to have a designated driver.
Legal Drinking Age in Lanzarote
The legal drinking age across the Canary Islands is 18.
If you are above 16 and accompanied by a parent, you are allowed to have a glass of wine or beer, although at the venue’s discretion.