Tenerife is, along Mallorca, Spain´s best-known tourist destination for most Europeans. But many of the holiday-makers to the island do not know that its volcanic soils are home to some excellent wines. Most tourists do not think about enjoying Tenerife wine tours while planning their holiday on the island. All-inclusive hotels and relax is what most people have in mind.
Wines from Tenerife are mainly produced in 2 subregions: Tacoronte-Acentejo and Ycoden, both in the northern part of the island. We will share with you the best wineries and wine tours in Tenerife.
Most visitors to the island stay at one of Tenerife´s all-inclusive hotels. The Southern part of the island is dry and guarantees high temperatures and sunny weather all year round. Tourists arrive at hotels and resorts in Southern Tenerife to enjoy pools and beaches. But there is more to the island than “just” that. To start with, the amazing Teide Vulcano is Spain´s highest mountain and a must-see attraction for any visitor to Tenerife. Food and wine are also amongst the island´s top attractions.
The first impression about this wine region is obvious. It is not very easy to get it pronounced! It is clear that it has not been the work of marketers. But Tacoronte is the second-largest offshore DO in Spain (after Benissalem in the Balearic islands) This makes Tacoronte the largest wine region in the Canary Islands and the region that exports most wines. There are more than forty bodegas in Tacoronte-Acentejo. Some of them are truly small.
Tacoronte-Acentejo is located northwest of Tenerife. The village of Tacoronte and La Vitoria de Acentejo, which give name to the region. The architecture here may suggest we are in Latin America. Not far lies the island’s second port, Puerto de la Cruz, the Lagos Martianez pools, some of the first hotel resorts on the island, and the famous Loro Park zoo.
Tourist development has stayed close to the seaside, and this has luckily left wine country almost unspoilt. Vineyards are planted up the mountainside at altitudes that vary between 200 and 800 meters (656 and 2625 feet). Soils on the lower levels are fertile loam spread over volcanic bedrock. The top soil gets thinner as altitude increases, and even a more volcanic terroir is present. Grapes from higher lands provide more acid and fresh wines, while lower lands enjoy a more obvious sub-tropical. Rainfall is low, with some 300 millimeters a year and overall conditions are very good for quality wine production.
Grapes grown are the typical varietals from the Canary islands: Listen Negro and Negramoll are the most present red grapes, while Gual, Moscaltel and Listan Blanco are favorite choices for white grapes. Find out more about Spanish wine grapes in this link.
Wineries have incorporated new technologies in recent years, though a large degree of traditional-style winemaking can still be seen. The reputation of red wines is increasing as vineyards become more mature and wineries adapt to modern techniques. Sweet wines are of top-level and benefit from the excellent quality and taste of Malvasia volcanic (Malvasia grape planted on volcanic soils).
Production of wines in this region is not easy, with vineyards typically planted in uneven plots. Very little automation is possible and on some plots, grape picking and taking care of the vineyard implies titanic work. This explains why most visitors to the island rarely taste local wines. Most all-inclusive hotels in Tenerife and the Canary Islands, in general, serve mass-market Spanish wines from highly respected brands from Rioja or Catalonia, rather than wines from locally sourced producers.
Some interesting wineries include Bodegas Monje at El Sauzal, La Isleta at La Laguna, Insulares Tenerife at Tacoronte or AFCAN in Tegueste.
The primitive tribes in the Canaria island are known as Guanches. Guanches did not know wine. Wine arrived to the Canary Islands with Spaniards. But the lands of this DO were occupied by the Guanches well before the arrival of Spaniards. This wine region spreads in the Northwest of Tenerife. This part of Tenerife is not occupied by hotels or resorts for tourists. There is however a famous tourist attraction, the dragon tree at Icod de los Vinos. This plant (it is not actually a tree) only grows in the Canary Islands and the one at Icod de los Vinos is its best example. It grows a branch only every 8 years!
This wine region is located in the hottest and wettest area of Tenerife. It is protected from the dry winds of the South and gets the influence of the alisios wet winds from the west. This is a wine region mainly for white wines and Listan Blanco is the most planted grape. Listan Negro (a red grape) occupies 20% of the vineyard.
Most wines are young wines and little or no crianza is used at most wineries (the fact most wines are white wines explains this to a large extent).
Locals from Tenerife acknowledge that the best red wines are produced in Tacoronte, whilst the best whites arrive from Ycoden. This is basically the local deal!
Interesting wineries include Cueva del Viento, Tajinaste or Viñatigo.
These recent DOs are located on the eastern part of the island and extend from north (Güimar) to South (Abona) The valley of Guimar is a very fertile area and many crops from Tenerife come from here: tomatoes. Potatoes, bananas and also wines.
Grapes are the typical Canarian varieties. Producers are very small, but most wineries use modern production methods. Vines planted on lower lands (at around 200 meters) benefit from rich and fertile soils, whilst higher soils are volcanic.
La Orotova is a mid-sized town located very close to the harbour and tourist resorts at Puerto de la Cruz. Vineyards are planted in steep hills that typically profit from ocean views. Altitude range from 200 to 800 meters and both Listan negro and blanco account for around 90% of the vineyard. Most wines are young wines and very little aging is carried out at the small wineries in this region. Most wine is consumed by locals at Guachinches, the traditionally and affordable local eateries.
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