Owned and run by winemaker Ignacio Valdera, Bermejos is on the easternmost island of Lanzarote. Only 125km from the African coast, conditions here are extreme. A volcanic explosion that lasted from 1730-1736 covered the entire island in lava and ash 3-5 meters deep. Consequently, each vine must be planted in a hole or hoyo that breaks through that infertile volcanic crust of petrified lava to the organic matter that can nourish it. The wind, which acts as a natural fungicide, is so ferocious that each hoyo is surrounded by rock walls for protection. The flora on Lanzarote – including the vines – cannot grow up very high; there are not enough nutrients in the soil to support sprawling greenery. Yields are miniscule (16 hL/ha) and each berry is concentrated with flavor. All vineyard work is done meticulously by hand. Some of the wines are certified organic, depending on the vintage. Ignacio supplements his crop with purchased fruit from growers who share his vision of sustainable viticulture; with such low yields the winery would have to own most of the land on the island in order to produce financially sustainable quantities of wine from exclusively proprietary grapes.
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