I just spend a couple of days asking among vineyards that are set among lava rocks in a terrain where you should not be able to grow wine. It’s on Pico Island on the Azores.
Why are they growing wine on lava rocks?
The Azores was settled by Portuguese in the 15th century, many of the settlers were munks. They started to plant vineyards on Pico Island and while clearing the land for volcanic rock, they used the rocks to build little walls around the Pico vineyards. The walls around the vineyards were necessary as the climate on Pico Island is not really for wine growing, but the lava rocks are heated up during the sun during the day and they take some hours to cool down, so the heat they have generated during the day are now helping the vineyards to stay warm at night.
Normally vineyards are set in fertile landscape that is easily harvested. But because the 15th century munks did not have this on Pico Island. So they decided to grow wine where it should not be possible.
The Pico vineyards are UNESCO world heritage.
UNESCO has decided to make the Pico vineyards UNESCO world heritage because it’ s a great example of how you can grow something against the odss if you are creative. I am really happy that they are being preserved, cause it is so weird to walk around these vineyards. I used to work in the wine industry in my younger years and the Pico vineyards are really going against the odds, but it works. The wine that is made at the Pico vineyards is actually quite tasty.