As part of our search for wineries, a Google search revealed Finca la Laja – Bodega Las Berrazales. It offers so much more than just vineyards and wine tasting, they also grow coffee and fruit trees underneath the vines. Intrigued, we took a trip to the North of Gran Canaria to see what it was all about.
Finca is the Spanish word for farm, and Bodega means cellar or wine cellar. Bodega La Berrazales is located in the pretty little waterfront town of Agaete which is also where you would catch the ferry to Tenerife.
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As with most country roads in Gran Canaria, the road to this Bodega was narrow, and the driveway was nothing more than a dirt patch where we squeezed our car into the parking space as best we could. Walking up to the property, we found ourselves walking underneath the vines. We later learned that they grow them this way due to the extreme temperatures they experience in the summers in the valley. Temperatures can reach up to 40 degrees celsius which, if the vines were growing on the ground, would burn the grapes. The magical thing about Gran Canaria is the microclimates. Split into north and south, you’ll find cooler, more moist temperatures towards the north and and in the south it can reach searing, soaring temperatures akin to the dry desert heat of the Sahara. This provides varied conditions for growth meaning a wide range of crops can be produced, if given the right attention.
It’s very pretty, with vines, beautiful buildings and flowers.
There’s even a small chapel built by the owners
Los Berrazales started from a sugar cane crop some generations ago, which is the story of many Gran Canarian farmers in the pre-Sixties, before the era of tourism blossomed on the island. We were told that the owners used to be employees of the farm before buying it and turning it into a wine, fruit and coffee. The crop that surprised us the most was the coffee.
Aside from the incredible wine that this vineyard and plantation produces, two things about Los Berrazales are really rare. One, it’s one of the only places in Europe producing bananas and, two, it’s the sole coffee plantation in Europe. In fact, they’ve been producing coffee for over 100 years!
Bodega Los Berrazales grows its coffee plants in the shade of luscious orange, mango, grapefruit and guava plants, and also underneath the grapevines. There were even coffee trees growing alongside the walls of the buildings – anywhere where it was cool.
They harvest their beans and dry and de-shell in their traditional ‘African Beds’. It’s so important for coffee’s flavour to allow the beans to slowly mature (dry out) close to source.
The Arabica beans produced here create a really rich, rounded coffee, which we had a taste of and had to buy a small bag of freshly-roasted beans to take back home.
One of their most famed crops is oranges, which are incredibly juicy and impeccably sweet when picked each spring.
After a tour of the vines, fruit and coffee trees, we were taken up to the winery
Where they store the wine barrels under a huge rock
The wine is so popular that they don’t export it – it never leaves the island.
Before going to the actual wine and coffee tasting, we’re taking up to the roof top where we could see stunning views of the farm and surrounding area
After that we were taken to a dining area where were were given a number of wines to try along with various meats, cheese and cake and, of course, coffee
We bought a couple of bottles of wine (and red and a white), a bag of coffee and some of their, surprisingly, delicious coffee jam
All in all, it was well worth the drive and the €10 for the tour. A very pleasant and relaxing place to be.