What is the difference?
How do we explain the difference between DO (Denomination of Origin) and Artisan wines? Carmen explains how she recently heard a tourist during a birdwatching tour giving pieces of wisdom about local wines. He declared with a slight sneer how he, “avoids the massified industrial wineries”. He opts to support the small guys who have it so hard trying to compete. This insinuates that the artesanal winery is the real deal. Pointing dismissively at the buses standing in front of the La Geria Bodega, as an example of the “industrial winery”.
We would like to put this information straight:
14 Denomination of Origin Wines in Lanzarote..
Lanzarote has 14 wineries within its Denomination of Origin. DO means that the wineries are part of a regulatory classification. The system is used primarily for Spanish wines (similar to the French appellations).
These 14 Lanzarote wineries are required to fulfill certain parameters for the denomination of Origin. For example: To make wine exclusively from Lanzarote grapes under specific quality and growing conditions. The vine cultivation and wine production is subject to rigorous controls. Their investment in technology and specialist staff pays off though. The wines are very complex, and every year they collect important recognition awards from international wine competitions.
Each of these wineries has it’s own marketing strategy. Many of them have different price ranges. The local wine that you find in the supermarkets is often the most economic. Still good quality though! The best premium produce, wines to impress enthusiasts? You will only find these in the winery itself, or in some specialised restaurants.
Yes the winery caters to buses on their grand tours as a part of their commercial strategy. The whole concept of a bus tour is based on efficiency. However, to dismiss La Geria wines because of this aspect is a great mistake. Just try their Manto or Antigua wine and you´ll understand why!
All Denomination of Origin bodegas produce wines which they can be proud of. Furthermore, they are recognised by wine experts from across the world. Their produce is professional, complex and stable.
About the Artisan Winery
Artesanal wine is pleasant and understated with little investment and expertise behind it. All produce is made by passionate winemakers for the consumption of families and friends. The wine is not produced for sale (by law). Artisan wineries have no inspection controls, therefore the the quality of the produce given is subject to the commercial strategy of those who run the bodega. At the artesanal winery we can consume wines that were not made by this bodega. They may not even be from Lanzarote.
Supporting the local community
As for the argument about supporting the small guy. Every winegrower in Lanzarote is the “small guy”! Even the biggest winery will purchase their grapes from a local family, a so called small local winegrower. The plants are all harvested manually. Furthermore, many of the big producers support and encourage organic farming. In the world of wine growing and winemaking in Lanzarote, there is a constant quest for improvement. This quest is lead by the Denomination of origin council.
There are no small wineries against the big ones. The success of Lanzarote wines depends on the passion and cooperation of the many families. Wine growers have been cultivating in the same way for 300 years. In addition, state of art technology plus the local ‘know how’ of DO wineries. This is what gets the medals and recognition.
A few words from eco-insider friend and colleague. Michele Boschi is a great foodie and professional sommelier:
Lanzarote has had a Denomination of Origin since 1993, with 14 proud and professional wineries within it. What is remarkable in the DO Lanzarote is they understand that without investment, technology and additional professional oenologists, it’s impossible to produce quality wine. This is why they have invested the funds needed to transform the vine making process.
This doesn´t mean industrialising the product. A winery producing 100 thousand bottles of wine per year is a wine artisan. The quality is higher compared to other producers. Those who apply the same ‘know how,’ but not the same levels of control. The wine nowadays is a product which needs technology. The experience is important, but without technology you can never reach the same high levels.
Technology doesn´t mean manipulation or cheating. It means better control…
Here are a few of my favourite wines from Lanzarote, all be it very difficult to choose. In no particular order – Bermejo, Manto from La Geria and also Bodega Vulcano wines.
Our Wine Tasting Tours
The eco-insider DO Lanzarote wine tasting tour includes three premium wineries with a chance to sample nine hand-picked wines. The leading expert Oenologist from each Bodega, has selected his favourites for you to try. Expert tour guide Ed will help you to recognise the flavours and walk you through each production process. Learn more about the tour and see details of how to book >>