At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, with travel restrictions in place worldwide, we launched a series The World Through a Lens in which photojournalists help transport you, virtually, to some of our planets most beautiful and intriguing places. This week, Mnica R. Goya shares a collection of images from the Spanish island of Lanzarote.
Situated some 80 miles off the southwest coast of Morocco, Lanzarote with its stunning coastline, desert-like climate and plethora of volcanoes is the easternmost of Spains Canary Islands. Major volcanic activity between 1730 and 1736, and again in 1824, indelibly altered the islands landscape and helped pave the way for an improbable sight: a vast expanse of otherworldly vineyards.
In recent years, Spain has devoted more land to vines than any other country in the world. And while the Canary Islands, more broadly, have a longstanding wine tradition the archipelagos wines, for example, were mentioned in several of Shakespeares plays nothing could prepare me for the uniqueness of Lanzarotes vines.
The most remarkable wine area on the island is La Geria, a 13,000-acre protected landscape which lies at the foot of Timanfaya National Park, one of Lanzarotes main tourist attractions. It was here in Timanfaya that volcanic eruptions buried around a quarter of the island (including La Geria) under a thick layer of lava and ash, creating a breathtakingly barren scene and eventually leading to a new way of growing vines.
Many of the vines on Lanzarote are planted in inverted conical holes known as hoyos, which are dug by hand to various depths, each one made in search of the fertile soil underneath the ash and lapilli. In a counterintuitive twist, the ash plays an essential role in the vineyards success: It protects the ground from erosion, helps retain moisture and regulates soil temperature.
Low semicircular rock walls protect the vines from the merciless winds. Together with the hoyos, they contribute to an inventive growing method that might easily be mistaken for a network of sculptural art.
La Geria is a superb example of humans working hand-in-hand with nature. In a way, the immense if desolate beauty of this area is evidence of human resilience in the face of adversity: For hundreds of years, inhabitants here have managed to extract life from volcanic ash on an island often plagued by drought.
But changing weather patterns (including scarcer-than-usual rainfall) and harsh economic realities are persistent threats. The traditional hoyos system can yield about 1,200 pounds of grapes per acre. Other less traditional (and less time intensive) cultivation systems on the island can yield up to 6,000 pounds per acre by utilizing higher-density growing techniques and some forms of mechanization.
An economist by trade and environmentalist at heart, the winegrower Ascensin Robayna has a strong connection to Lanzarote and a serious commitment to conservation. For years she has tended high-maintenance and low-yielding organic vineyards, adamantly asserting that this unique landscape, and the traditions embedded within it, must be kept alive.
Growing vines in hoyos means that farmers adapted to the special circumstances of soil and climate, creating the most singular of the agrarian ecosystems, she said.
Theres an obvious sparkle in Ms. Robaynas eyes whenever she descends into the lava fissures, called chabocos, where trees and grapevines especially muscat grapes, among the oldest of varieties are grown. (Puro Rofe, a winery founded on the island in 2018, recently released a wine made exclusively from her chaboco-grown grapes.)
In the late 19th century, a pestilent aphid, phylloxera, decimated grapevines throughout mainland Europe. (The wine industry there was salvaged by grafting European vines onto American rootstocks, which were immune to phylloxera.) By contrast, phylloxera never reached Canarian shores. As a result, vines here can be planted on their own roots a relative rarity in the wine world.
Hundred-year-old vines and unique grape varieties are a common sight across the islands. Malvasia Volcnica is arguably the islands most well-known grape variety; others include Listn Negro, Diego and Listn Blanco.
Once, while visiting a set of vineyards near Uga, a small village in southern Lanzarote, I followed the winegrower Vicente Torres as he climbed barefoot the traditional way of working here up the hillside to inspect his vines. With the lapilli tickling my feet, and while sinking slightly with each step, I found the ascent more arduous than Id anticipated. Growing anything in this soil, I learned, is hard work.
According to regulatory data, this years harvest is expected to be less than half of last years, with a forecast of about 2.6 million pounds of grapes.
The oldest men around here say they dont recall a year as bad for vineyards as this, said Pablo Matallana, an oenologist who grew up on neighboring Tenerife but has family roots on Lanzarote. We have been enduring two years of extreme drought. Some plots have debilitated considerably, and the vigor of the vines has decreased, he said.
Rayco Fernndez, a founding member of the Puro Rofe winery and a distributor praised for having been one of the first to showcase quality Canarian wines, agreed. The drought is ruining vineyards, he said, adding that the ash, where there is a thick enough layer of it, has been a lifeline.
But Lanzarote faces other threats, too. Tourism accounts for a significant portion of the islands gross domestic product. And, despite a relatively low number of confirmed coronavirus infections, this economic sector has largely evaporated.
According to a Covid-19 economic impact study conducted at La Laguna University, Lanzarotes G.D.P. is projected to drop by 21 percent.
With the number of winegrowers falling, and climate change wreaking havoc, the future of winemaking on Lanzarote appears more challenging than ever.
Theres no doubt, though, that the island holds a kind of mythical sway over its visitors. Its been almost a year since my last trip to Lanzarote, yet I continue to revisit certain images in my mind: of vines emerging from the majestic hoyos at the foot of Timanfaya a splendor still to be treasured there, at least for now.
Read the rest here:
- Hotel openings around the world, Travel News & Top Stories - The Straits Times - January 5th, 2021
- 16 Really Good Things That Happened in the Travel World in 2020 - Hospitality Net - January 5th, 2021
- A Mass. beach just ranked among the top 25 island beaches in the world - Boston.com - January 5th, 2021
- Jim Cramer: 10 Investment Themes I Like in 2021 - RealMoney - January 5th, 2021
- Travel 2021: What will be on the itinerary once vaccination opens up the world? - The Financial Express - January 5th, 2021
- Travel to New Zealand during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go - CNN - January 5th, 2021
- Playing the Green Lottery: Life Inside Colombias Emerald Mines - The New York Times - January 5th, 2021
- Traveling to Spain during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go - CNN - January 5th, 2021
- How four of this year's Transformers helped the world's biggest banks surviveand thrive... - Business Insider - Business Insider - January 5th, 2021
- Travel to Antarctica during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go - CNN - January 5th, 2021
- The cauldrons of gold theory of media and startups - TechCrunch - January 5th, 2021
- Tracing the steps of a fantastic voyage, part 2 - SF Gate - January 5th, 2021
- Discovery+ enters the streaming wars with a big bet on reality TV - CNBC - January 5th, 2021
- Epic Games buys enormous shopping mall, will convert it to global HQ - Polygon - January 5th, 2021
- Where the President Got His Lies About Georgia - Slate - January 5th, 2021
- World War 3: Israel told dont underestimate Irans weapons as tensions soar - Daily Express - December 5th, 2020
- China branded 'greatest threat to democracy and freedom since WW2 by US spy chief - Daily Express - December 5th, 2020
- China THREAT as US intelligence chief warns Bidens team targeted amid trade tensions - Daily Express - December 5th, 2020
- Boris must act now before its too late! Navy chief calls for UK to stand up to China - Express - December 5th, 2020
- Ivanka Trump blasted over India intervention as POTUS set to leave White House - Daily Express - December 5th, 2020
- SAIS students from around the world travel to Italy for in-person instruction - The Hub at Johns Hopkins - October 29th, 2020
- New World, New Duties: Creating Tomorrows Travel, Today - Worth - October 29th, 2020
- These destinations were overwhelmed by tourists. Here's how they're doing now - CNN - October 29th, 2020
- Villas of Distinction Recognized with Cond Nast Traveler's 2020 Readers' Choice Award in Villas Category - Benzinga - October 29th, 2020
- Trending Now: Sports Tourism Market Share, Growth, Demand, Trends, Region Wise Analysis of Top Players and Forecasts - Aerospace Journal - October 29th, 2020
- Where Wes Anderson films 'accidentally' come to life - The Guardian - October 29th, 2020
- Beachfront Residences at The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort Open November 1 - Luxury Travel Advisor - October 29th, 2020
- Tourism and Agriculture Market 2020 Trends, Market Share, Industry Size, Growth, Sales, Opportunities, Analysis and Forecast To 2025 - TechnoWeekly - October 29th, 2020
- Impact of Covid-19 on the Hospitality, Travel, and Leisure Sector - Programming Insider - October 29th, 2020
- Africas year of zero: a special report on the future of wildlife tourism - Financial Times - October 29th, 2020
- Coronavirus: Is self-catering the best option? - World First Travel Insurance - October 29th, 2020
- From Lusaka to the world: why travel holds the key to economic recovery - themastonline.com - October 29th, 2020
- TCS World Travel Announces Dates for Its First All-Inclusive Luxury Expeditions On Ground-Breaking New Airbus A321neo Private Jet - Business Wire - October 14th, 2020
- Hacienda Tres Ros is a Strong Candidate in Three 2020 World Travel Awards Categories - PR Web - October 14th, 2020
- Peru, Bahamas and Puerto Rico Added to WTTC's Safe Travels List - TravelPulse - October 14th, 2020
- Maldives bags 8 nominations at World Travel Awards - The Edition - October 14th, 2020
- Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) And World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) Announce They Will Bring the Industry Together in Hamburg... - October 14th, 2020
- WTTC has a plan to save the travel sector - Travel Weekly - October 14th, 2020
- Short's Travel Signs with Deem to Offer An Additional Travel Booking Solution for Clients - GlobeNewswire - October 14th, 2020
- Travel insurance proposition enhanced by Zurich - ITIJ - October 14th, 2020
- The world's busiest airports -- and how far they've fallen - CNN - October 14th, 2020
- This is why travel will be better post-pandemic - Traveller - October 14th, 2020
- Is cow hugging the world's new wellness trend? - BBC News - October 14th, 2020
- Disney World attendance to stay capped; Disneyland reopening 'not much of a negotiation,' CEO says - USA TODAY - October 14th, 2020
- Author and World Traveler Illustrates Exploration of Europe and the Challenges he Faced in New Book - GlobeNewswire - October 14th, 2020
- Travel Alert: Covid-19 Cases Are Back To July Levels, And Rising Fast - Forbes - October 14th, 2020
- The traveler who spent a month working as a porter on Mount Everest - CNN - October 14th, 2020
- Expedia Modernized Operations on One of the World's Fastest-Moving IT Stacks - GlobeNewswire - October 14th, 2020
- Impact Of Covid-19 on Experiential Travels Market 2020 Industry Challenges, Business Overview and Forecast Research Study 2026 - PRnews Leader - October 14th, 2020
- How One Travel Advisor Gets Creative to Stay Engaged with Clients - Travel Market Report - October 14th, 2020
- New York City named one of world's top ten best walking cities - Travel Daily - October 14th, 2020
- Lonely Planet's new Ultimate Travel List reveals the world's unmissable travel experiences - Lonely Planet Travel News - October 8th, 2020
- President Trump positive is a red alert for World Travel and Tourism - eTurboNews | Trends | Travel News - October 8th, 2020
- 4 Travelers on Life Around the World: Women Who Travel Podcast - Cond Nast Traveler - October 8th, 2020
- The world's 10 coolest neighborhoods, according to Time Out - CNN - October 8th, 2020
- After six months, Germany eases world travel restrictions - The Tribune India - October 8th, 2020
- Travel agents wait for the world to reopen from COVID shutdowns; heres how theyre staying afloat with trave - MassLive.com - October 8th, 2020
- The world of travel is (slowly) reopening | Opinion - ECM Publishers - October 8th, 2020
- Amazon Prime's Global Child "Travel with Purpose" & Netflix's Down to Earth with Zac Efron bring hope to audiences through a new breed... - October 8th, 2020
- This hotel was named the best in Boston and among the top in the world - Boston.com - October 8th, 2020
- Is One of the Most Overtouristed Cities in the World Better Off Without Them? - Fodor's Travel - October 8th, 2020
- New Zealand passport is now the most powerful in the world; India secures 58th position - Happytrips - October 8th, 2020
- Big plans from Small Luxury Hotels of the World - Travel Weekly - October 3rd, 2020
- Trending News: Customized travel Market Overview and Forecast Report 2020-2026 Top players: TCS World Travel, DuVine Cycling & Adventure Co,... - October 3rd, 2020
- Australia-New Zealand travel bubble to partially open within two weeks - The Guardian - October 3rd, 2020
- Ski, Party, Seed a Pandemic: The Travel Rules That Let Covid-19 Take Flight - The New York Times - October 3rd, 2020
- Which Countries Did Worse In The Deadly Summer Of Tourism? - Forbes - October 3rd, 2020
- New WTTC Campaign Highlights Social Benefits of Travel & Tourism - Hotel Business - October 3rd, 2020
- Worlds Best Islands: Why Portugals Terceira Belongs On Your Travel Wish List - Forbes - October 3rd, 2020
- When Star Wars Rebels brought back Mortis and introduced time travel [Jabba the Pod 3.13] - SYFY WIRE - October 3rd, 2020
- Dream Vacations Lift and Shifts National Conference Aboard Celebrity Apex to 2021; This Years Conference will be Virtual - Franchising.com - October 3rd, 2020
- Tratok and Hotel Data Cloud Sign Agreement to Restart Travel Industry Through Blockchain Powered Technology and Artificial Intelligence Enabled... - October 3rd, 2020
- How You Can Help Animal Shelters Around the World During COVID - Fodor's Travel - October 3rd, 2020
- Panama is reopening to tourists from all countries in October - Lonely Planet Travel News - October 3rd, 2020
- Travel-Awards.Org to Host the Virtual Conference World Travel Summit 2020, Under the Theme "Travel - In The New Normal" - PRNewswire - September 4th, 2020
- Phillys Four Seasons Spa Was Just Named One of the Best in the World - Philadelphia magazine - September 4th, 2020
- Attend a Live, Interactive Virtual Oktoberfest Celebration This Year - TravelPulse - September 4th, 2020
- So you had a terrible vacation. Whose fault is that: The airline's? The hotel's? Or yours? - USA TODAY - September 4th, 2020
- It's a new world of travel in MLS for the Galaxy and LAFC - Los Angeles Times - September 4th, 2020
- Staycationers are saving hotels and Airbnb from covid-19 - The Economist - September 4th, 2020