Drive along the LZ30 from Uga to San Bartolomé any of these mornings and you’re likely to see grape pickers at work in the unique vineyards of La Gería. The island’s 2020 vendimia (grape harvest) is now fully underway.
The Puro Rofe bodega in Conil was the first to begin the harvest last Tuesday, with the island’s oldest winery, El Grifo, following on Wednesday. Other bodegas have joined since, and the sight of field workers harvesting grapes by hand can be seen all over the island, but especially in the unique landscape of La Geria. .
The warm weather on the Canaries means that Lanzarote’s wine harvest is one of the the earliest to take place in Europe. This year’s harvest is expected to reach around a million and a half kilograms – about half of the quantity gathered in last year’s bumper crop.
One of the reasons for the smaller harvest is the drought conditions that Lanzarote has suffered this year. Nevertheless, local experts say the absence of disease mean that this year’s grapes are of very high quality.
The variety of grapes being harvested this week are the local speciality malvasía volcánica, along with listán blanco. Harvest of the black listán negra grapes will take place later in the summer, with the gathering of the sweet Moscatel and Diego grapes taking place last of all.
Lanzarote table grapes are also now available in many local shops – you’ll tend to find them in smaller fruterias rather than larger supermarkets. They can be recognised by their tightly clustered bunches with a whiteish bloom. This early in the season they have a refreshing, tart flavour, with sweeter riper grapes arriving in the next few weeks.