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During your holiday in Lanzarote, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to attractions, but one tour we can highly recommend is a visit to the award-winning El Grifo winery and its excellent museum and wine tasting tour.
For hundreds of years, the Canary Islands have been synonymous with the production of wine and today boast one of the ten oldest wine cellars in Spain. The El Grifo Bodega on the island of Lanzarote has been family run since 1775 and today produces between 400,000 - 600,000 bottles per year.
During the 15th century, the Canary Islands Malvasia grape wine was the toast of nobility and so popular around the European courts that it was the main money maker for the island's economy.
Loved by Shakespeare
English playwright William Shakespeare liked the wine so much that he reputedly accepted barrels of Canary wine as payment for his work. In fact, you will often come across characters mentioning the properties of Canary wine in many of his works.
Sadly, interest in Canary wine waned during the age of exploration as fortified wine from the Portuguese island of Madeira became the de rigueur tipple of the day.
Having now spent the best part of 400 years producing wine for the masses the Canary Islands have gone back to their roots, producing a higher quality product with no influence of oak.
Wine making in Lanzarote never really got off the ground until after the Timanfaya volcanic eruptions of the 1730’s that left a quarter of the island covered in lava and ash. Unable to grow barley, farmers soon learned that providing you could protect the vines from the wind there was enough humidity in the air to support the growth of grapevines.
While on a visit to El Grifo, remove from your mind any preconceived picture of lush Tuscan hills or neatly manicured Bordeaux fields and prepare for a Moonlike landscape where vines are planted in crater-like holes and surrounded by bricks.
The iconic grape of choice on Lanzarote continues to be the Malvasia, which produces a smooth, dry white wine which is best drunk young. El Grifo also produces a very drinkable red wine, procured from the Tenerife grown, Listán Negroa grape.
Compared to mainland Spain, very little of the wine you see at El Grifo is meant for export, which means you are unlikely to come across it in your local supermarket. That being said the wine tasting at the end of the winery tour is the perfect opportunity to sample what the Canaries has to offer and will take all the guesswork of having to decide what wine to pair with your dinner.
Daily 10:30 am to 6:00pm (including bank holidays)
Guided tours of the wine museum and walk through the vineyards, with two wine tastings included.
Monday to Sunday 1:00pm and 4:30pm.
Guided tours of the wine cellar, museum and two wine tastings.
Monday to Friday 11:00am and 3:00pm
From the monument for El Grifo (LZ-30, km 11): 3 km