A Lanzarote Harvest To Remember

Lanzarote is famous for its extremely high quality, award winning wines which is quite surprising when you look at the terrain in which the vines are grown. But the growers developed techniques using the unique volcanic landscape to their advantage. 

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Every year in mid-August, Fiestas Nuestra Señora de la Caridad take place to celebrate the readiness of the grapes and there is a traditional harvest which is open to the public and held at Bodega La Geria in the heart of the wine growing area. After several years of good intentions we finally made it to the event this year.

On the evening of the 14th there was a barbecue accompanied by live Canarian folk music provided by Parranda Janubio.

Starting at 10:00 on the 15th guides in traditional Canarian clothing have the camels prepared with wooden containers on their backs ready to carry their precious cargo.  The wine drinking has already started on this special occasion! 

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We followed the camels into the vineyard where the guides took baskets to the vines and loaded them with grapes. Volunteers were invited to carry them and tip the fruit into the carriers on the camels’ backs.

After following the procession back to the bodega the containers of grapes are taken to be weighed before being tipped into the pressing area. This is when you can take off your shoes and get down and dirty by stepping into the enclosure to tread the grapes to a pulp. The children did this with great enthusiasm, the adults a little more self-consciously. I hasten to add that these ceremonial grapes are not actually used to make wine (I hope)!

There are several return trips to the vines so that everyone gets a chance to see how things used to be done. For a small fee you can ride on the camels to feel even more involved. At the bodega, as the pressing enclosure fills up it gets pretty messy but great fun.

Outside there is a stall where you can taste the wines and have tapas and pintxos for just a euro each. The place livened up as the music began with Parranda Los Salineros de La Hoya, a seven piece band with guitars, mandolin and traditional Canarian timple. Soon the locals and visitors alike were up dancing.

Bodega La Geria has a tapas bar, a shop where you can sample and buy their wines, and an artisan gift shop. Bodegas Rubicon across the road also has a lovely restaurant with panoramic views across the vineyards.

In the evening there is a solemn service at Ermita de La Geria, the tiny church in front of the bodega, followed by more music and wine drinking.

It is a special celebration and it was great to get involved, although I resisted the urge to tread the grapes!

You can see all of Graham’s photos from this event on our Facebook page here: Wine Harvest 2016