The history of the vine with Anaga goes back a long way. It is known that the grape arrived in the Canary Islands in the 15th century, in fact, it is said that the first vine was planted in Tenerife by Fernando de Castro in 1497. And in the Massif area, it coexisted with sugar cane. When the latter disappeared, wine remained as the star product, since it was highly coveted by Europeans, giving rise to a period of apogee during the 17th, 18th and first quarter of the 19th centuries.
The old wineries are present in almost all the territory, most of them in the coastal areas, and strategically located next to natural refuges, the most important ones were built. They served as a shipping point for the wine, which was transported in small boats to the ships that were anchored in the port of Santa Cruz. Some of these wineries were located inside caves far from the coast, but most of them were established in the natural wharfs of the Anaga coast, which today are in ruins, such as: Tamadiste, Benijo, Roque de las Bodegas, Las Palmas, or Roque Bermejo. Other enclaves were Igueste, Antequera or Anosma.
In addition to the wineries, all this work carried out by the farmers of the time would not have been possible without the wine presses. These structures, some of which are still in very good condition today, were generally made of stone (tosca), although wooden ones can also be found. The rough stone was extracted from the ravines and the large ones were carved. The presses were used to press the grapes and extract the must. The Anaga Massif stands out, among many other things and ethnographically speaking, for the presence of a hundred of “lagares de tosca”.
The varieties of vines that were cultivated and can still be found are listán negro, malvasía, vijariego, mulata, gual, forastera, moscatel, tintilla, marmajuelo, listan gacho, negramoll, forastera gomera, marmajuelo, albillo criollo, gual, vidueño or malvasía rosada.
Today, this activity is maintained in Anaga with small wineries and production of some appellations of origin that make wines from plots located in this magical place, a Biosphere Reserve. Some of them are:
Cuevas del Lino, in El Batán. Born in 1999 under the D.O. Tacoronte-Acentejo. It is a family winery that mainly grows black listan.
El Alpiste Canario (Malvasia wine), in Taganana.
Sortevera, a plot wine from Taganana that has the winery Suertes del Marqués. With different grape varieties from the Amogoje, Margalagua and Las Fajanetas plots.
Maipé-Taganana. A wine made from 100% white listan vineyards. This is due to the fact that the vineyard grows on rocks on one of the walls of Monte de Las Vueltas.
Although there was a period of decline of Canary Island wines, coinciding with export problems, or the phylloxera plague in Europe, Canary Island wines have been appreciated by illustrious personalities of history such as Philip II, Charles III or Benjamin Franklin. His excellence is also reflected in quotations from various works by authors such as Walter Scott and William Shakespeare. The Malvasia wine that was exported was known as “Canarias” or “Canary”.
What is clear is that the Canary Islands, and in particular Anaga, thanks to its mild climate, its unique -and complicated- orography and its isolation, has managed to preserve a singular identity, preserving these varieties forgotten in the old continent.
And have you tried blackberry wine?
But not only from grapes we can find wine in Anaga; it is also imperative to taste the blackberry wine of the area. Blackberry wine is made from the mulberry fruit and is attributed with many healing properties. According to the most long-lived locals, it is good for internal wounds (especially of the stomach). This wine is produced for example in the villages of Taganana, Roque Bermejo and Los Batanes with a technique that has been passed down from generation to generation. After the blackberry is harvested in July and August, it is pressed and then fermented with cane sugar (one kilo of sugar is added for every three liters of juice). This is for about a month and a half before bottling, when the wine has developed alcohol naturally. Today there is a bottled blackberry wine, “Vino de mora el Chorro”, of small production and highly recommended if we have the opportunity to try it.