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Volcanic wine of Lanzarote

Life begins with the fertile soil of active volcanoes. More than ten percent of the world’s population lives within a hundred kilometres of an active volcano.

Much of the volcanic soil consists of ‘tephra’. Tephra is volcanic particles and fragments that are ejected by a volcano during an eruption and then fall to the ground. Over time, tephra becomes what we call “volcanic soil”.

Most volcanic soils are known as Andisols or Andosols, which comes from the Japanese words anshokudo and ando, meaning ‘dark-coloured soil’. Andosols are light and fluffy; they tend to accumulate organic matter. They are very porous, which allows water to be retained and roots to grow comfortably.

Volcanic soils are fertile because they retain many of the nutrients that were present in the original rock. Although it varies from volcano to volcano, andosols generally contain phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron.

Soil fertility varies according to the type of volcano. As mentioned above, effusive volcanoes are characterised by large lava flows and therefore produce andosols rich in iron and magnesium.  Explosive volcanoes, on the other hand, expel large quantities of ash and particles (tephras). During their expansion and following their fallout, they form soils rich in aluminium, sodium and potassium.

Successive eruptions allow the soil to regenerate and remain the most fertile areas in the world. Each volcano therefore has particular properties in its soil. This gives rise to endemic ecosystems, plants and fertile agriculture.

One of the wonderful examples of life in volcanic lands is on the island of Lanzarote. The practice of vine cultivation developed in the most unlikely areas following the eruptions of 1730 and 1736.  A layer of expelled material of the size of two to sixty-four millimetres in diameter over several metres completely covered the ground. The lapilli, as it is called, is a classification of tephra of greater thickness than the ash that covered the landscape. The latter is entirely black, leaving only the whiteness of the houses visible.

 

Successive eruptions allow the soil to regenerate and remain the most fertile areas in the world. Each volcano therefore has particular properties in its soil. This gives rise to endemic ecosystems, plants and fertile agriculture.

One of the wonderful examples of life in volcanic lands is on the island of Lanzarote. The practice of vine cultivation developed in the most unlikely areas following the eruptions of 1730 and 1736.  A layer of expelled material of the size of two to sixty-four millimetres in diameter over several metres completely covered the ground. The lapilli, as it is called, is a classification of tephra of greater thickness than the ash that covered the landscape. The latter is entirely black, leaving only the whiteness of the houses visible.

The method of development of the vine culture consists in opening a hole of about three meters in diameter by two meters deep until reaching the surface of the buried soil, in which the vine is planted with deep root systems. Often the hole is accompanied by a stone structure that acts as a windbreak. The vine grows in this black landscape, in these small cavities made by hand by man. The vine as a living being acquires tenacity, originality and finesse.

The work is done manually because mechanisation is impossible with this soil so unstable because of its composition. The yield is low but the quality is unique and rare. A pure treasure born in the heart of the lapillis.

These endemic wines are characterised by a volcanic, mineral taste perfectly balanced by their relatively high acidity.

This survival of the vines in the volcanic soil by this indigenous variety, the volcanic malvasia, is also present on other volcanic islands of the world.

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