To truly get to know Madeira Island, you need to acknowledge the history of the Blandy family — one of Madeira’s main wine producers.
In the past, because of its strategic position in the Atlantic, Madeira was an important stopover point for ships operating on routes between Europe and the African and American continents. These ships transported products such as Madeira wine, which over the years has spread throughout the four corners of the world. Trade with England brought many British to the island, including John Blandy, the founder of Blandy’s, which arrived here in 1808.
Madeira Wine Company is one of the most emblematic producers of Madeira wine. The Blandy family run the company which represents brands such as: Blandy’s, Cossart Gordon, Leacock’s & Miles.
Its wine cellars, Blandy’s Wine Lodge, are located in a 200-year-old convent in the centre of Funchal. You can join a guided tour of the wineries, the museum and finish the visit with a tasting.
Here are 5 proposals:
1.In the Premium Tour you will be able to get acquainted with the old cooperage of the family and understand the process of making the wooden barrels. This is followed by a visit to the ageing warehouses where one of the oldest Madeira wines in hull is stored, from 1948. In the thematic room and in the museum, you will learn about the different stages of the transformation of the grapes into Madeira wine, the Satin wood and their stories. One of the curiosities of the museum are the letters of Winston Churchill, a great appreciator of this wine. The visit ends in the Max Romer Room decorated with beautiful panels alluding to Madeira wine, where you can enjoy 2 wine tastings.
2.In the Vintage Visit you will be able to understand, with more detail, the wineries and the traditional process of maturing in “Canteiro”. Also visit the private collection of the Blandy family, ending with 2 wine tastings, a 10-year tasting and a Vintage tasting.
3.In the Private Visit, go to the mythical tasting room, exclusively dedicated to Frasqueira or Vintage Madeira wines. These are aged in oak barrels for a minimum of 20 years and have unique and special aromas. Here you will taste 4 Madeira wines: Sercial dry 10 years, Verdelho half dry, Bual half sweet and Malvasia sweet, harmonised with nuts, cheese, chocolate and honey cake.
4.At “All About Madeira”, enjoy a dinner accompanied by Madeira Wine, from the beginning till the end! This themed dinner takes place every Wednesday at the 1811 Bistro & Wine Bar, also located in Blandy’s wineries.
5.Join the grape harvest at the Madeira Wine Festival, which takes place in late August and early September, and learn about the particularities of Madeiran cultural heritage.
Did you know that Madeira wine bottles should be stored in a vertical position, kept out of direct sunlight and without great temperature variations and should be served between 16ºC and 18ºC?
If you like Madeira Wine you may transport the wine in the hold baggage in packages, back home, specially provided for that purpose. If you prefer to carry it in hand luggage, you can buy the wine at Blandy’s Wine Lodge and pick it up at the airport after you pass the security zone at the Portfolio store.