Facebook pixel


Madeira Produces One of the World’s Great Fortified Wines

As some of you might be aware, Madeira is an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, which is Portuguese-owned.

This island, which was discovered in the year 1419, has a long winemaking history.

Today, this island is giving its name to one of the world’s great fortified wines.

As a wine researcher, I would say both the Madeira wines, as well as the island is holding distinctive spots in the history of wine.

Wine grape varieties

We could say that Madeira is among the very few wines that have not changed since it gained a reputation over two centuries ago.

Now, let’s see in detail about the Madeira and its wines here…


Remember to read the Wine Tasting guide…

The Rise of Wines in Madeira

The history of winemaking in Madeira Islands can be dated back to the Age of Exploration. During those times, this was a regular port of call for the ships that were traveling to the East Indies.

By the sixteenth century, this region was able to raise a well-established wine industry supplying the ships with wine.

Eventually, the Dutch East India Company became a regular customer of these wines.

Gradually, the popularity of these wines extended to other parts of the world.

We could say that the Madeira had an important role to play in the wine history of the USA.

However, the industry saw a fall during the nineteenth century and by the end of this century, most of the vineyards of Madeira were uprooted.

The region was able to return back to normal only by the end of the twentieth century.

This was possible only with the efforts taken by the producers who started a renewed focus on quality.

Climate and Geography in Madeira

Obviously, the island is experiencing oceanic climates with some tropical influences. As such, the terrain of Madeira is found to be a mountainous volcanic island and hence, it is almost impossible to cultivate.

Therefore, the vineyards are often planted on man-made terraces, which are called as poios.

Today, there are around 14,000 different vineyard plots in Madeira covering a total vineyard area of 500 hectares.

As humidity and warmer temperatures are the ideal conditions for fungal invasion, the winemakers are planting a lot of disease-resistant, non-Vitis vinifera grape varieties on the island.

Alcohol and Distilleries

Winemaking in Madeira

Initially, the winemaking steps of Madeira would start just like the other wines. The usual harvesting, crushing, pressing, and then fermenting will be carried out.

In this, the grapes that are destined for sweet wines will be fermented on the skins, while those destined for dry wines will be separated from the skins before fermentation.

Also, depending on the desired levels of sweetness, the fermentation will be halted at various points by adding neutral grape spirits.

The Madeira wines are unique by the process of aging. These wines will undergo an aging process called estufagem.

This process would impart a distinctive flavour to these wines. Furthermore, these wines will be exposed to air for oxidization.

The wines that are got from these processes would have a colour similar to your tawny port wines.

It’s to be noted that all the fortified wines from Madeira are being produced under the designation of Madeira DOC, while the table wines are sold under the VR title Terras Madeirenses.

Wine Grapes in Madeira

Today, almost 85% of the Madeira wines are produced from the grape variety, Tinta Negra Mole. Also, there are four major styles of Madeira ranging from the driest to the sweetest style.

They are:

These are also the names of the grape varieties that are used in the production of Madeira wines and are the originally preferred varieties.

Occasionally, we can also see the following grape varieties in the Madeira wines:

  • Terrantez
  • Bastardo
  • Moscatel

Give this page a High Five!


Tharani Rajamanickam

Tharani Rajamanickam


I am Tharani, I have Bachelors degree in Biotechnology. I am passionate about the wine industry and continue to explore, learn and share and I bring in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you keep updated with best wines in the world. Stay tuned..

Are you a Copywriter?

We have a lot of articles without much content, if you can do it better, you are welcome to write a nice article, and get the proper credit for that. Read more information about beeing an author, and Contact us for more information.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Vineyards in Madeira

No Results Found

The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.

Read also about other Wine Regions

Wine Grape Varieties
Wine Informations
Wine Merchants

Visit the Region

Bar and Cocktail Equipment
Bottle Opener
Wine Accessories
Wine Opener
Alcohol Free
Brown Ale
Chinese Beer
Christmas Beer
Czech Beer
Danish Beer
English Beer
Finnish Beer
German Beer
Iceland Beer
Indian Pale Ale
Italian Beer
Japanese Beer
Mexican beer
Pale Ale
Seasonal Beer
Swedish Beer
Turkish Beer
Wheat Beer
White Ale
French Champagne
Cocktail Bitters
Cocktail Mixer
Cocktail Muscat
Cocktail Shakers
Fruit Juice
Mead and Tonic Wine
Soft Drinks
Spirits Mixer
Dessert Wine
Argentinian Dessert Wine
Australian Dessert Wine
Chile Dessert Wine
English Dessert Wine
French Dessert Wine
Fruit and Ginger Wine
German Dessert Wine
Hungarian Dessert Wine
Italian Dessert Wine
Madeira and Marsala
New Zealand Dessert WIne
Portugal Dessert Wine
South African Dessert Wine
Spanish Dessert Wine
Cognac and Brandy
Eau De Vie
Gin & Genever
Gran Marnier
Irish Liqueur
Irish Vodka
RTD'S (Ready to Drink)
Tequila & Mescal
Port Wine
Portuguese Port Wine
Portuguese White Port
Ruby Port Wine
Tawny Port Wine
Red Wine
American Red Wine
Argentina Red Wine
Australian Red Wine
Austrian Red Wine
Bulgarian Red Wine
Chile Red Wine
English Red Wine
French Red Wine
Georgia Red Wine
German Red Wine
Greek Red Wine
Hungarian Red Wine
Italian Red Wine
New Zealand Red Wine
Portuguese Red Wine
South African Red Wine
Spanish Red Wine
Uruguay Red Wine
Rosé Wine
American Rosé Wine
Australian Rosé Wine
Chile Rosé Wine
English Rosé Wine
French Rosé Wine
German Rosé Wine
Italian Rosé Wine
New Zealand Rosé Wine
Portuguese Rosé Wine
South African Rosé Wine
Spanish Rosé Wine
Sparkling Wine
American Sparkling Wine
Argentina Sparkling Wine
Cyprus Sparkling Wine
French Sparkling Wine
German Sparkling Wine
Italian Sparkling Wine
South African Sparkling Wine
Spanish Sparkling Wine
Walisisch Sparkling Wine
Blended Malt Whisky
Blended Whisky
Bourbon & USA Whiskey
Grain Whisky
Irish Whiskey
Other Whisky
Scotch Whisky
Single Malt Whisky
White Wine
American White Wine
Argentina White Wine
Australian White Wine
Austrian White Wine
Chile White Wine
English White Wine
French White Wine
Georgia White Wine
German White Wine
Greek White Wine
Hungarian White Wine
Italian White Wine
New Zealand White Wine
Slovakian White Wine
South African White Wine
Spanish White Wine
Chile Wine
English Wine
Exclusive Wines
Fine Wine
French Wine
German Wine
Italian Wine
New Zealand Wine
Port Sherry Madeira
Portugal Wine
Spanish Wine
Wine Gifts
Beer Gifts
Gift Packaging
Spirit Gifts
Wine & Champagne Gifts

Wine Tours

About Wine Tours

About Wine Tours

A tour to the vineyards where your favourite wine was made, is an adventure that cannot be explained as you have to explore it for yourself.
Bandol Wine Tour

Bandol Wine Tour

Bandol, which is among the internationally popular wine regions, is located in the Provence region of France.
Chianti Wine Tasting Tours

Chianti Wine Tasting Tours

Chianti is produced in a region of Tuscany, the Chianti region is huge and overlaps several other prominent wine growing regions
The Secret behind Alsace Wines

The Secret behind Alsace Wines

Alsace wine, also known as Alsatian wine is one of the many wine varieties that are grown in the Alsace region of France. These have a Germanic influence on them and is primarily is white.
No ratings yet.

Give this page a High Five!

Save up to 20%

Get our newsletter with the promotional code, and save a lot of money!

You will now recieve our Newsletters, Thank You :-)

See all of Our Promotional Codes and benefits here

Online Shopping and World's Best Wines

Save up to 20%

Receive our newsletter and get the latest news, promotional codes and freebies

You will now recieve our Newsletters, Thank You :-)

See all of Our Promotional Codes and benefits here