Mission: Impossible

TO THE SIDE OF AN EMPTY ROAD ON THE ISLAND OF Lanzarote, the northeasternmost of Spain’s Canary Islands, a landscape of dark volcanic mountains and craters rolls out into the distance. The black rock is so arid, and the vientos alisios (trade winds) so fierce, it seems impossible that anything could grow here—we might as well be on the surface of the moon.

But thanks to the dug by hand into the volcanic ash. At any of the island’s vineyards—of which there are hundreds—grape vines grow in solitary plots tended by family growers who have shared the same peculiar techniques for generations.

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