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discover Madeira

The fertile land of this beautiful island is host to many varied crops from sugarcane to bananas. The vine, however, is the most important with 400 hundred years of providing Madeira’s main product, wine.

This fortified wine can be made from one of four principal varieties: Sercial,Verdelho, Bual and Malmsey and interestingly it owes much of its fortune to happy accident. The island’s strategic position meant it was a favourite stop off for ships travelling to Africa, South America and India where pipes of Madeira wine would be loaded aboard. Alongside fortification to preserve the fragile still wines, it soon became apparent that the heat of sun on these long tropical journeys had a remarkably positive effect, so much so that before long a fashion had begun for wines to travel to India, and then back again! When growing demand made this solution became impractical the modern Estufa was born, where wines could be artificially heated then cooled again, simulating a journey on the open seas.

Madeira Producers

There are only eight Madeira wine producers. Each has its own distinctive style – from Blandy’s – the eldest, to Vinhos Barbeito – the youngest. The grapes used to make the wines are grown by many different producers but only this small selection of producers actually make the wine.

Portfolio Producers

Appellations of Madeira

Like Port, all Madeira comes from one place - the small, warm, rugged Portuguese-owned volcanic island in the Atlantic Ocean, off the northwest coast of Africa. In terms of styles, Madeira can be produced in many ways ranging from dry wines which can be consumed on their own as an aperitif to sweet dessert wines.

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Grape Varieties of Madeira

This fortified wine can be made from one of four principal noble grape varieties - Sercial (Esgana Cão), Verdelho (Gouveio), Boal (Bual, Malvasia Fina), Malmsey (Malvasia Candida). If one of the varietal grapes is included on the label, the wine must contain a minimum 85% of the grape.

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