Aerial view of vineyards in La Geria, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain
© Orbon Alija/Getty Image
Volcanic vineyards. The volcanic vineyards of Lanzarote
This bird’s-eye view of La Geria vineyards, in Lanzarote, shows off the unique volcanic landscape here in this corner of the Canary Islands. The vines are planted under volcanic ash which has covered the land in La Geria and neighbouring Timanfaya National Park since a series of volcanic eruptions in the 1730s.
To reach the fertile soil buried beneath, farmers dig a cone-shaped hole in which to plant the vine, then build a small stone wall in to protect it from the wind. The volcanic gravel and ash prevents rainwater from evaporating and captures other moisture to help water the plants. The most cultivated variety here is volcanic Malvasia, a very delicate white grape used for dry and sweet wines. Due to its unique characteristics, La Geria has been a protected area since 1987, as is Timanfaya National Park, where scores of volcanoes are concentrated within 20 square miles.