Chatting with Cho Juan

On the wonders of Tenerife wine

Meet Cho Juan (Sho Wahn)

In Tenerife, a ‘cho’ is a wise old man, a village elder. Sadly, as in many things, the days of respecting the elderly for the experience they have to share and wisdom they have gathered over the years, have gone.

Where once upon a time, the village cho might be approached for advice on life, love, planting seasons and pest control (among many other things), now we reach out to Google instead.

But tradition is important so I’m very happy to introduce you to eTenerife’s own special elder, Cho Juan.

He has lived on the island all his long life and boy, does he have stories to tell . He has a lot to say about Tenerife traditions, life, love and wine. Especially wine.

Cho Juan’s Tip:

Instead of choosing a bottle of wine that you could buy in the market back home, ask for one of our local Canarian wines by the quart/half or litre.

Just ask for “Una cuarta /media o Un litro de tinto/ blanco.” which means a quart, half litre or litre of red/white wine.

The waiter might ask, ¿Esta bueno? You could always show him your appreciation by buying another media.

Don’t forget to take a picture of the lovely local wine and share it on Facebook. That way you are helping our local wine growers spread the word about our award-winning Tenerife wine.

Cho Juan's Bodega

Introducing a New Friend to Tenerife Wine

Last week my son brought a friend home. Nice English man, Ian by the name. How do you pronounce that? He tried to say good morning in Spanish to me, he almost succeeded. I was curious to see such a man in the middle of his working life, who though obviously not a tourist, had soooo muuuuuch free time in the middle of the day. So I made him try some of my red Guimar wine, the one that my cousin Cho Pancho brews.

He liked it. These crazy English, they drink beer all the time  … until they discover our Canarian wine! It only takes one “media” to change their minds for life.

A media is a half liter. Here we order wine by one quart, one half or one liter. Not the bottled continental stuff, you understand, but the real Canarian wine that comes in 4 gallon flasks and is never bottled. We don’t give it the time!

So, this man Ian told me how much he liked Tenerife, and the weather, and the people, and the wine… We’d already finished the jug so I called for my son, Lolo to bring the cellar key. The three of us went down and sat at the table where it was cool. Ian had wide open eyes and he was very quiet. You could see that he had never been in a place like this and the sight of all those wine barrels and the heady smell of wines was something new to him.

The wine that you have tasted upstairs is a Guimar wine – I told him – It is a southern wine, but only half way so, not so strong and heady as the northern wines and not so light and airy as the southern brews. Try now this: I poured a fruity white Vilaflor wine from the barrel on my left.

He drank it on one gulp! “Chaaaaacho!!!  Don’t drink it like, that, it is not beer in your cup! Drink it like wine should be drunk!

Look young man, take the cup in your hand, but don’t grab it with the whole hand, you see? You don’t want the warmth of your hand to heat the wine; you want the wine to be at room temperature, OK? First smell it, put your nose inside the glass, and let the smell get to you.

There you can almost feel the land where it was grown, the put your nose out of the glass, breath fresh air, and take one gulp of wine. That’s it!

Now keep it in your mouth, pass it from one side to the other, let it soak your taste buds, and then gulp it down! Some people spit it after that, but that is only when you are going to taste many different wines and you don’t want to get dizzy having a lot of liquid in your belly.

Ah, you don’t mind? You can drink 6 pints of beer and still walk on two legs? How much is six pints, in liters? Ha ha haaaaa! Try drinking half that quantity of Canarian wine and you cannot walk even on four legs!

Night had fallen by the time we came up from the cellar. Ian grabbed me in a bear hug and hiccuped in my face. “Great time”, he said, “Great time”.

He staggered off with Lolo but something tells me I’ll be seeing him again soon.

Hasta luego, amigos.