Rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall are causing changes to winemaking management all over the planet, including Lanzarote
In the northern and southern hemispheres alike, winters are becoming colder and shorter, and summers are getting hotter and longer. In the world of viticulture, this climate change reality has led to the need for earlier harvests to prevent the grapes from over-ripening. If this happens, the alchohol content increases and acidity lowers, causing the wines to lose a certain freshness of flavour.
One way to solve this has been to plant vines at a higher altitude or relocate vineyards to entirely new countries or regions at higher latitudes. By locating vineyards in higher and cooler territories, the effects of climate change are somewhat mitigated. This solution is changing the face of world winemaking.
It was implemented here in Lanzarote when Bodegas El Grifo experimented with a winter harvest in 2021. It meant reversing the natural vegetative cycle of the vine by bringing pruning forward to the beginning of October 2021 with a view to harvesting in the winter or early spring of 2022. In the end, the grapes were harvested on 6th April 2022. This stopped the grapes from over-ripening and ensured lower alcohol content and higher acidity, resulting in wines with a fresher, more pleasant palate.
El Grifo has carried out the same early pruning method again this winter, but this time, even earlier, to the beginning of September 2022. This experimental production has been carried out in several locations: the main two-hectare vineyard in Playa Quemada, as well as tests on some 80 to 100 vines dotted around different areas of the island such as La Geria, El Grifo, El Cuchillo and Yé. These plots were harvested on 15th February, yielding grapes with similar characteristics to those of last year.
An additional finding of this experimental viticulture has been a lower incidence of fungal diseases. This is thought to be thanks to the fact that the vines are not exposed to the high temperature typical of spring or summer for so many hours and days at a time. We only have one planet. Let us fight today for a better tomorrow because the earth is more valuable than money.
Pedro J. Benasco Curbelo. Taster. DO Wines Lanzarote Regulatory Council