A Leap for Mankind
**** I expected to see volcanoes and dry land in the Canary Islands, but nothing like this. The island is to- tally black from volcanic ash (called picón). Shooting here made me feel like an astronaut. It’s as close to the moon, or to Mars, as I’ll ever get.
The islanders have come up with this unusual way to cultivate grapes in the ash. They use stone piles to protect the vines from wind. But the shape of these walls also funnels dew and humidity (the only regular precipitation) to the fruit.
The design of the vineyard reminds me of a Kandinksy painting. But inside the picture is the reality of hard work. Heat is everywhere — in the volcanic grit and in the air. Camels are still used in some open fields. But it takes manual labor to make this vineyard system work, and to produce a very strong wine.