The largest wine producer in the Canaries, Tenerife is little known for its vineyards on the Spanish Peninsula, let alone in the rest of the world. Over recent years, however, things have started to change. From international prizes to local vineyard tours, Tenerife’s wine is gaining an increasing reputation among gourmet circles and tourists looking for things to do in Tenerife.
Originally popular in 16th century Britain, sweet Malmsey wine from the Canary Islands was a favourite of Shakespeare with over 100 mentions in the plays of the great bard. Tenerife’s fertile soil nourishes several varieties of grape including the popular listan variety, and the island is home to no less than 5 Denominacion de Origen areas, designating local wines of the highest quality. For hardcore wine fans, the annual celebrations of St Andrew’s day (30th November) are not to be missed: locals celebrate both their patron saint and the first of the year’s new wine. El Puerto de Santa Cruz sees the rowdiest of the night-time celebrations while the streets of Icod de los Vinos play host to crazy teenagers (and older revellers) hurtling down the steep streets of the town on what are essentially polished tea-trays.
To get a real sense of the history of Canarian wines, we recommend starting at the Casa del Vino in the Sauzal region of Northern Tenerife. This former finca, dating back to the 17th century, has a decent museum and visitor centre along with a lovely tasting room (trial-sized snifters of local wines for a couple of Euros each and accompanying cheeses) and an elegant restaurant with a stunning terrace. Keep your eyes peeled for the regular wine tasting courses on offer and take a look at the decent shop (unfortunately located next to the tasting room…) where your museum ticket will earn you a discount on a bottle of your choice. If you have bad weather on your visit, this is one of the best things to do in Tenerife to dodge the rain.
The nearby vineyards at Bodegas Monje offer panoramic views over the surrounding countryside, guided tours (book in advance) and a rustic restaurant that even offers breakfast with matched wines (a first for us). Bodega el Lomo in Tegueste is also open to visitors and offers guided tours followed by a tasting in the vineyard’s traditional Canarian-style visitor centre and restaurant. Booking is recommended.
For those visitors who would prefer to let someone else do the hard work (and the driving), several tour companies offer good excursions around Tenerife’s vino hotspots. Tours in Tenerife‘s dramatic-sounding ‘Volcano and Wine’ tour takes in both Mount Teide and a rural bodega from €235 for a group of up to 4 people and €275 for up to 8. Meanwhile, Tenerife Guides have a 4-hour wine tour on offer that take in the Casa del Vino as well as a few choice wine bars in San Cristobal de la Laguna.
Bodega el Lomo: Crta El Lomo 18, 38280 Tegueste; tel +34 922 54 52 54; Open Mon-Fri 10-1200h and 1530-1630h, Sat 10-1300h
Bodegas Monje: Camino Cruz de Leandro 36, 38359 El Sauzal, Tenerife; Tel: +34 922 58 50 27; Open: 1000-1900h
Casa del Vino: Autopista General del Norte, km 21, Calle San Simon 49, 38360 El Sauzal, Tenerife; tel: +34 922 57 25 35; Open Tues 1030-1830h, Weds-Sat 0900-2100h, Sun 1100-1800h, closed Mondays
Vinoteca Canaria: 38350 Tacoronte, Tenerife; tel +34 922 57 00 39