Archive for August 12th, 2009
Grape expectations at Casa del Vino

Next time you have a meal out in Tenerife, make a point of ordering a local wine, it’s another part of the rich heritage of the island, even William Shakespeare was found of a drop of Malvasia wine. The north of Tenerife is the stronghold of the wine growing industry, so it is fitting that Casa del Vino lies in El Sauzal, a few miles from Puerto de la Cruz, and near Tacaronte, famous in its own right for fine grapes.

It was around 5 years ago that I last visited the combined museum, exhibition halls, tasting rooms, and administrative centre for Tenerife’s wine output, and it is still a FREE attraction with much to recomend it. Perched on the lip of a steep hill, views on a clear day are stunning, of the valley below, and Mount Teide above, this afternoon the cloud had descended, well I had made good use of the sun earlier in the day in El Sauzal town below, more of that in the other post. The Casa is an old 17th century farm house, built around a large courtyard, with an old wooden wine press making a natural centre piece.

The museum tells the story of the growth of wine in Tenerife, and its journey out into the wider world, it now has a formidable reputation. For much of the north of the island, the wine trade provided jobs and security, in recent years its value has been recognised and quality control and regional brand names have made sure it takes its fair share of prizes at prestigious tasting events. Talking of tasting, for a small charge, you can taste a few wines and get a few pointers on what to look for, I had brought along a pint glass, but they were not having that, so I had a few gentle sips and tried to look knowledgeable. Regular courses are run through the year for those who want to educate their palate, homework will no doubt be keenly undertaken.


Attached to the main building is the newer Casa de la Miel (House of Honey) charting the rise of this sweet product,not widely recognised as a Tenerife speciality. I went to a place called House of Honey in Amsterdam many years ago-but it was quite different to this. The varied flowers and fauna help to influence the taste of Tenerife honey, there are nearly 500 producers in Tenerife these days. Most regional craft fairs will have some honey on offer, but the main Casa del Vino store has a good range, and of course plenty of wine to sample at home.

Summer evenings feature classical concerts in the courtyard of Casa del Vino, in the shadow of the wine press, and the exhibition hall has a changing display of art from local artists. If you want to relax and have a meal, the restaurant has a terrace overlooking the valley, and specialises in traditional local dishes using local ingredients, all washed down with the best the cellar can offer. Casa del Vino is open Tuesday to Sunday (closed mondays) from 11.30 to 7.30 Tuesdays, Wednesday to Sunday 10.00 to 9.30, and holidays 11.30 to 5.30. For details of courses, concerts and general background, check the website. Cheers