The winery El Grifo is one of the oldest wineries of the Canary Islands. Its construction dates from 1775, a few decades after the volcanic eruption that devastated the region between 1730 and 1736.
The bodega is built on volcanic lava and its 50 hectares of vines are planted in pozzolanas emitted by volcanoes, including Montaña Juan Bello, nearby. Old buildings have the traditional architecture of Lanzarote and are made of materials austere, with thick walls of volcanic stone and mortar, and roofs supported by wooden beams mainly from shipbreaking, very few trees growing on Lanzarote.
The bodega El Grifo has produced wine continuously since the late eighteenth century; it is still active and produces quality wines, among the best wines of the island of Lanzarote. The family that currently owns acquired the estate and the winery in 1880.
The bodega is located 1 km to the northeast outskirts of the village of Masdache and 3.5 kilometers west of the Monumento al Campesino (intersection of the LZ-20 and LZ-30 roads). It is located on the territory of the village of El Islote part of the municipality of San Bartolomé. The name of the winery El Grifo is a sort of play on words, “grifo” meaning both “cock” and “griffin” chimeric animal of antiquity. For the bodega, César Manrique designed a logo representing the chimeric bird (Pájaro Grifo). His representation serves as a guide to find the bodega.
The Wine Museum is housed in the old cellars of Bodegas El Grifo, production of the bodega continuing in more recent buildings. The museum utensils and machines that were used by the bodega El Grifo for more than two centuries of wine production and which have been preserved: old machines to tread and stalk, old presses, pumps transfer the wine, bottling machines, corking machines and laboratory instruments used to control winemaking. The museum has a library with 3,000 volumes on the subject of wine, some original writings of the sixteenth century.
Connoisseurs will find that the evolution of winemaking techniques was not very different from other wine regions, although at Lanzarote, because of distance and communication problems, this change is made with decades of delay. This allows observation methods and machines that, in other areas, have not reached the twentieth century.
The buildings themselves are of interest: the lower level of chai we see on the right, the dark wall of volcanic stone, which is next to the housing, and the gable roof with exposed beams. Ground we can see a pit, dug in the volcanic lava and covered with an iron gate, named chaboco where the wine bottles were stored for safekeeping and aging. On the left we see a succession of cubic constructions in limestone: these are vessels (tanquillas) which was stored the wine before bottling; marks indicate the type of wine in the tank: white, red, sweet or muscat.
Visit the Museo del Vino El Grifo :
Often located in the museum Masdache, but is, in reality, administratively located in the locality of El Islote, municipality of San Bartolomé.