A crisp cool glass of white wine (or red if you prefer) is a perfect way to end a day of roasting in the sun here in Tenerife. There is no better place to buy local Spanish wine than Casa del Vino (House of wine) in El Suazal.
I visited the museum one hot weekend and took advantage of both the wine and the new honey museum, followed by a wine tasting session. The building at Casa del Vino was originally an old country house “Hacienda de san Simon” (Estate of St Simon) to use for farming and food production but was then sold to the council in 1959. The wine museum was small but packed with history. Signs were nicely arranged around the room like a timeline of firstly the history of winemaking in Tenerife but also the process of making wine. I was impressed by the amount of detail given and the translations in both English and German, the museum obviously attracts many tourists.
Here are a few interesting facts I learned about wine history and production in Tenerife….
- Because Tenerife has many mountains and orchards in the steep terrain, farm work is mainly still done manually.
- Vines can adapt to many terrains and can live hundreds of years.
- Wine was introduced to Tenerife by Spanish and Portuguese settlers; however, history tells us the Guanches (Aboriginal people of Tenerife) used to make and consume a drink made from molasses and berries of the Mocan tree, that was said to have magical properties.
- Pirates came to Tenerife with the sole purpose of stealing the wine, and in doing so, spread the word about Canarian wine around the world.
- William Shakespeare was partly paid for his work with a barrel of Tenerife Malmsey wine each year. Perhaps this sweet wine even inspired some of the writings we still love today.
After I had looked around the wine museum, I was directed to the next exhibition about Honey production. This display is fairly recent and isn’t translated into English, but it still was still a nice addition to my trip. The best part about the addition of a honey exhibition, in my opinion, is being able to purchase the local honey products at the gift shop.
After seeing both exhibitions I sat down and relaxed as the tour guide and wine connoisseur prepared the tasting session. Boards of cheese fruits and bread were lovingly arranged on the tables. Maria was very approachable and knowledgeable so when I admitted I knew very little about wine, it didn’t faze her she just smiled and taught me all the basics. Maria gave us four wines to taste; A dry white wine or sweet white (I chose the sweet wine), A rose wine, and a red wine. Maria had told us they change the wine selection each visit so when tourists visit a second time, they can try more of the wine Tenerife has to offer. I thought that was a thoughtful idea. The wines were all delicious but the Red wine ‘El Ancon’ from Ycoden-Daute-Isora, was my favourite. It had an unusual herbal taste like the smell as you walk into a health food shop. I purchased a bottle from the gift shop after the session.
The Gift shop sold a wide variety of Canarian food. From honey to aloe cosmetics, banana liquors to mojo sauce, and fresh goats’ cheese, I could see an abundance of homemade and/or local produce. To the left of the gift shop was the wine room where I could buy any wine from my tasting session or many others local to the area. I asked Maria for the red wine from the tasting session and was surprised to find it was only €8! Bargain! I thought as the wine was of such high quality. I was impressed to see that there were wines for all price ranges. At the end of my trip, Maria led me to the door and wished me well for the rest of my stay in Tenerife. She was a lovely lady as were all the staff and I will definitely visit again to try some more wines.
Written by Charlotte Taylor