I've enjoyed a lot of wine in my time. Now that I'm in my 30s I've even developed a taste for wine that I prefer, and wine that isn't as nice. I'm not yet a red wine drinker, but I'm all about a cheeky white, rose or fizzy. Wine provides a different 'tipsy' or drunk feeling than other alcohols, and it suits a lazy pub catch up, or a moment to unwind after a hard day. But I don't know much about wine. I don't really understand what I like and why I like it. I am led by pretty labels at the supermarket shelf.
So, while on holiday with a best mate who is currently studying for her wine exams, and visiting Lanzarote, a place that makes a lot of wine, I was more than happy to be offered the chance to review a vineyard tour with Eco Insider Tours Lanzarote.
The day started with Jose collecting us from our hotel, which takes all the stress out of an excursion doesn't it? Not having to get yourself somewhere for an exact start time, in a place you don't know. We made our way to collect a few more guests from other hotels, and then headed to our first vineyard.
La Geria was our first stop, and we met our tour guide Ed, who helped give us some basic knowledge about the industry's history. The vineyards here don't look like other vineyards I've seen, for example the winery in Menorca had the traditional vines, the plants are grown in large crater-like holes in the ground, surrounded by little walls, to protect them for the harsh winds. It created a landscape that feels pretty moon-like!
We tasted 3 wines here, a white, a rose and a dessert/sweet wine, and there was definitely no hard sell to buy anything. In fact someone on our tour had been interested in purchasing the rose, but was told that there wasn't even any available to buy - I believe it was online sales only. So you don't need to worry about any awkward pressures to order a ton of wine to ship home! They do offer that service though, which could be fun if you found something you were keen on.
Our second vineyward was the oldest winery in Lanazarote, El Grifio, which amusingly for me has a logo that seems like a cute Welsh dragon (it is of course a griffin). We had a tour of the museum, and again had 3 wines to sample, a white, a sparkling and a red. Lanzarote isn't famed for it's reds, so don't come expecting to try a lot, they're all about their white, sweet and sparkling, which is still plenty to get your taste buds around. Ed helped us understand how the process, why wines taste how they do, and his passion for enjoying a cheeky glass was clear to see. It's always great to learn from someone passionate about their interests.
The third vineyward was the complete opposite to the first two, it was a new winery with very modern branding, and we had very new wines to taste. So new in fact, one of them had been bottled 2 weeks ago. It tasted so different to other others we'd tried! Here we had a white, a rose and a dessert/sweet wine to sample. It was so interesting to hear how our tastes varied around the table! I definitely wasn't keen, but it was fascinating to taste!
Julio our driver was so great at using the drives between vineyards to give us extra information and understanding about the area, and he was so enthusiastic and helpful. We really enjoyed hearing from him.
The tour ended with lunch, at a local restaurant, with the wine still flowing! They were very accomodating of my vegetarianism (I'd advised them ahead of time), and even though I was wine-d out by then, the group were still enjoying topping up their glasses!
Given I'm not really a wine buff, I really enjoyed being able to experience some types of wines I'd never had before. I felt the knowledge was detailed enough without being overwhelming and boring, and I definitely came away understanding the process of wine making. The wine industry is really important to Lanzarote, even though they don't seem to be that big on importing it to the UK. They say they're more than happy to keep it for themselves!