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Canary Island Varieties


A combination of volcanic, phylloxera-free soils and indigenous grape varieties gives rise to wines unlike any other. This is largely due to the incredible natural features of the islands – formed over the last 11 million years by countless volcanic eruptions and seismic activity, thrusting rock out of the sea to incredible heights. However, it is also shaped by chance – of being in exactly the right place during a defining chapter in European history.


As a staging point for expeditions to the New World, the Canary Islands became a hub for traders, merchants and conquerors alike. Vines passed through from all over Europe, with many of them planted on the islands experimentally. Protected from the ravages of phylloxera by their volcanic soils and isolated geography, the Canary Islands became an oasis of old vines as the vineyards of Europe fell; a carefully preserved window into a time past, waiting to be discovered.

For over 30 years our founder, Juan Jesús Méndez, has been rediscovering, saving and cultivating these grape varieties in the Canary Islands. It’s no exaggeration to say Juan Jesús has been at the heart of the renaissance of viticulture in the Canary Islands. The knowledge he’s gained and shared alone has allowed many producers to expand their own understanding of their land and its natural resources.


The key to the potential of our native vines is their old age, and their ability to stand freely on their own rootstocks. Through decades of painstaking research, analysis and care of these vines, we now have a far better understanding of the wealth of the grape varieties found in the Canary Islands. Below are special native grapes we work with at Viñátigo.



Listán Blanco, or Palomino Fino as it's more commonly known across Spain, takes on a completely different character in the Canary Islands. Originally brought by settlers from Andalusia, this grape showcases the cultural meeting point that has made the Canary Islands such a unique part of the world, particularly when it’s seen trained in parrales – a technique adopted from Portuguese growers.


Reflecting the smoky, salty character from our volcanic soils, Listán Blanco has come to define many of the islands most reputable dry white wines. Much like Listán Negro, Listán Blanco is capable of showcasing its microclimate in a very transparent fashion, making it a highly sought-after grape from ambitious producers and wine lovers alike.