Calheta beach
  • Madeiran Wine

    The original vines were believed to be brought to Madeira by Henry the Navigator in the 15th century.  The Madeiran wine industry can be traced back to the Jesuit priests who owned large quantities of land and were believed to have sparked the trade. 

    The wine industry grew rapidly in the 16th century.  Sugar cane, however, was still the main cash crop.  It was not until the end of the 17th century that the wine export became as important, if not more, than sugar.  Sugar trade was cut back and more vines were planted!

    King Charles of England took advantage of his power when it came to Madeiran wine.  He created a monopoly over the industry and outlawed exports of this fine product by all countries except England!  This monopoly lasted for a century.  By the end of the 18th century, Madeiran wine was being shipped all over America and it's excellent keeping properties were being discovered and further appreciated.
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    In 1852, disaster struck the island.  Madeira experienced a mildew epidemic destroying 90% of the crop!  Of the 70 British wine establishments, only 15 stayed to regrow the industry.  Resistant vines were imported from elsewhere and the industry slowly regained it's footing. After a long struggle in throughout the 20th century, Madeira wines are now experiencing a bit of a renaissance and are once again, desired and imitated from across the globe.

    The island is now populated with as many vines as can fit! Farmers then sell their crop to the Madeira Wine Company, the grapes are vinified and the wine is then aged in the traditional 'canteiro' method.  The 'canteiro' method refers to the use of the sun to naturally heat the wine in it's oak cask.

    Madeira wine is very diverse.  With dry reds to bold digestifs, there is a perfect Madeiran wine for any time and any meal.  Visit the Madeira Wine Company or many other tasting houses on the island to find your next great favorite.

    Visit one of Madeira's many Wine Shops
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