Thursday, 13 April 2023 10:38

How To Spot Fake Canary Islands Wine

Canary Islands wine producers have recently warned about a marketing trick used to sell imported wine as local produce by using Canarian label designs and texts.

Embotellado en Canarias labelBottled in the Canary Islands

A wine that is made from Spanish grapes and imported in bulk can be bottled in the Canary Islands and labelled as "Embotellado en Canarias". With a convincing Canary Islands design on the label, this winer is then sold as if it is local produce in supermarkets and restaurants. The imported wine often uses grape varieties that are also grown in the Canary Islands, such as Malvasia and Albillo, as an added distraction.

Because production costs are so much lower in Spain's vast vineyards, these wines either undercut the local wine producers, or are sold at the same price as authentic Canary Islands wines.

Genuine Canary Islands wine is easy to recognise

This trick depends on people assuming that a bottle that looks like a Canary Islands wine and says bottled in the Canary Islands on the label is a Canary Islands wine. 

Fortunately, all genuine Canary Islands wine does have a Denominación de Origen Protejida (Protected Designation of Origin) label system that is easy to spot and guarantees provenance. It's a similar system to the one used to label genuine Champagne or Greek feta cheese.

Real Canary Islands wine have a DO section on the rear label. Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro each have an island-wine DO, while Tenerife has five; D.O. Tacoronte-Acentejo, D.O. Valle de La Orotava, D.O. Ycoden-Daute-Isora, D.O. Valle de Güimar, and D.O. Abona. Fuerteventura doesnt have a DO as it only has one wine producer (that we know of). 

There is also an Islands Canarias or Canary Wine DO that covers wines made using grapes from more than one island, or from areas of Tenerife that are outside the designated DO zones. 

You can see several of these label sections in the image gallery of this article. 

Genuine Canary Islands wine, made from grapes grown in the Canary Islands, have one of these DO sections on their rear label. The only exceptions are really local wines made for personal consumption and sometimes sold in local bars and Guachinches. 

Protecting Canary Islands wine growers and the countryside

Vineyards and Canary Islands wines have become an important source of income for rural communities and supporting them by drinking local is a great way to keep rural areas vibrant. 

There is also no problem if you choose to drink Spanish wine that is imported and sold in the Canary Islands. Spanish wine is excellent and much cheaper than local wine because the vineyards in Spain are huge and mechanised. All wine in the Canary Islands, on the other hand, comes from small vineyards that hand-pick their grapes. Local wine great stuff but you won't find a bottle of Canary Islands wine for less than 10 euros. Decent Spanish Rioja crianza reds, or Albariño whites, start at around six euros.

The problem here is when cheaper imported wine is sold sneakily as local produce and undercuts the local wineries and the local economy.

The practice is dishonest and destructive and we hope this article helps you to avoid being tricked. If you want to try Canary Islands wine, read our Gran Canaria Info wine section, and check the labels.

Published in Wine

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Tip of the day

  • Exchange Money In Gran Canaria Or At Home?
    Exchange Money In Gran Canaria Or At Home?

    Visitors to Gran Canaria often ask whether it is better to exchange their local currency for euros at home or in Gran Canaria. 

    The answer is that it is almost always better to buy your euros at home than it is to bring pounds to Gran Canaria and use local banks or currency exchanges. This rule of thumb applies all over the world. A currency is almost always cheaper the further away you are from the place you can spend it (because demand for it is lower). 

    Exchange rates are almost always better at home than in Gran Canaria

    You are very likely to get a better exchange rate using a British currency exchange specialist or local bank. Many of these companies will deliver your euros to your home.

    One of the best rates in the UK is often from the post office, especially if you do it well in advance.

    The only way you'll get a better rate in Gran Canaria than at home is if the exchange rate changes while you are travelling and this is rare. 

    You also have to bear in mind that currency exchanges in Gran Canaria are getting rarer and some local banks don't exchange money for non-clients. 

    To Transfer large amouynts of money to Gran Canaria, or to make regular transfers, always use a reputable currency broker such as Currencies Direct. This will save you money on exchange rates and bank charges and is highky secure. 

    The risk of bringing cash to Gran Canaria

    Another important factor to consider is the risk of bringing cash to Gran Canaria: If it is lost or stolen, there is no way of getting it back. 

    It is much safer to bring a debit or credit card and use local bank ATMs to take out money. These days, a good option is a pre-charged debit card. 

    Cards may be slightly more expensive that carrying cash, unless you seek out a bank card with low commissions, but it is much more secure. 

    Bank ATMs like Bankia, Santander and BBVA often charge lower rates than the ATMs in shopping centres and busy tourist areas.

    Alex Says: Always select the Euro option at ATMs in Gran Canaria because the exchange rate is much better than if you opt for the Local Currency option. The same applies when you pay by card in shops and restaurants.

    See our Gran Canaria Tips section for more nuggets of useful local information.

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