Geria, Lanzarote is known for its unique volcanic landscape, which is planted with vines to produce wine. It was made a protected Natural Area in 1994, and is also a Special Protection Area. The area also includes the declared natural monument of the ‘Cueva de los Naturalistas’ (the Cave of the Naturalists) – which is a natural volcanic tube. The Geria Natural Park has an area of 5255 hectares and has land in the municipalities of Yaiza, Tias, Tinajo, San Bartolome and Teguise.
Geria, Lanzarote is famous as the wine producing area of the island. The valley of Geria can be found to the east of the village of Uga. The truly, amazing thing is that this area produces wine at all, as the landscape and climate would seem to work against the growing of vines. There is a total of 3,355 hectares of vineyards here.
In Geria, Lanzarote where there is a desert climate, volcanic soil and hot winds from the Sahara, the locals have used originality and tenacity to develop the agriculture in this part of the island. The result is that local farmers are able to grow vines, potatoes, onions and yams. The reason that they are able to do this is because of the nature of the volcanic ash (which is called lapilli). This ash was deposited during the eruptions which happened between the years of 1730-1736. As it is a hygroscopic substance, it absorbs water from the air during the night and holds the water and stops it from evaporating during the heat of the day. The hollows are about 3 metres in diameter and are dug out to a depth of around 3 metres so that the roots go into the buried soil which is fertile.
In Geria, Lanzarote,the vines are grown in these hollows that are dug into the volcanic ash and are protected by horseshoe shaped walls of volcanic stone and ash. These ‘socos’ that shield the vines provide shade and shelter for them to survive, and helps to catch any moisture resulting from dew or condensation. It is quite incredible to think that vines can grow in such a hostile climate and environment, but each vine can produce around 200kg of grapes in a good season. The resulting landscape looks very ‘arty’ with rows and fields of the green vines in their black ash, and partly surrounded by their protective walls.
This type of production doesn’t allow machinery to be used and so is labour intensive. The result is that yields are low but are of a high quality. The yield is between 1,000 and 1,500kg per hectare.
The principal vines in Geria, Lanzarote, produce Malvasia grapes, which is most suitable for the environment and produces a small and low yielding grape. They produce a fresh,dry white wine with a rich and pleasant flavour. There are a range of other varieties that are produced, with most of them being white. The wine can be tasted and bought at a number of wine cellars, called bodegas, which are along the Uga-Masdache road, such as El Grifo, La Geria and Mozaga; and in Uga itself.
Geria, Lanzarote is well worth a visit to see the unique vineyards, and if you are interested, then to visit a vineyard and taste and possible buy a bottle of wine with the Lanzarote Denomination.