Friday, July 16, 2010

Madeira Wine Tasting in Madeira, Part 1: Itinerary and Map

Why else would one visit Madeira but for madeira tasting? And yet, neither Madeira's tourism bureau nor most of its restaurants and hotels anticipate serious wine tourism. It's near impossible to find a vintage madeira at a restaurant or bar, we failed to find an itinerary or guide on tasting, and even our hotel didn't suggest tasting as a must-do.

It turns out that there are several reasons for this void. First of all, most tourists and locals are interested in the non-vintage madeiras that are found almost everywhere liquor is served. These are much less expensive and can be quite enjoyable. Some restaurants even serve a cheap madeira as a complimentary apéritif. Secondly, the locals ("Madeirenses") drink madeira as we drink champagne — only on special occasions — so it's not all that surprising that expensive vintage madeiras are not omnipresent. Third, a few of the madeira houses are only open to the trade and by appointment.

So we cobbled together our own itinerary and tasted madeiras from all seven producers on the island. We tasted madeiras as old as 1863, learned about the madeira industry, met several wonderful people, and discovered interesting parts of the island. However, the astounding natural beauty of the island provided at least as much joy as the madeiras we tasted. I was clearly wrong in thinking that tasting madeiras was the only reason to visit this stunning island.

The Seven Families of Madeira Wine (grouped by location):
  • D'Oliveiras (107 Rua Dos Ferreiros, Funchal): No Appointment Necessary
  • Artur de Barros e Sousa (109 Rua Dos Ferreiros, Funchal): No Appointment Necessary
  • Blandy's / Madeira Wine Company (28 Avenida Arriaga, Funchal): No Appointment Necessary for Vintage Tasting (not free); Appointment Required for the Tour
  • H.M. Borges (83 Rua 31 de Janeiro, Funchal-across the street from the wine museum): No Appointment Necessary
  • Henriques & Henriques (10 Avenida da Autonomia, Camara de Lobos): Appointment Required
  • Madeira Barbeito (Parque Empresarial de Camara de Lobos, Camara de Lobos): Appointment Required
  • VJH aka Justino's Madeira Wines (Parque Industrial da Cancela, Caniço): Appointment Required (No tourists accepted)
Please note that Google Maps does not even have road names for most of the towns in Madeira. I've done my best to display exact locations from memory.

View Madeira Wine Tasting in Madeira in a larger map

Other Useful Sources:
  • Please see our posts on specific madeira houses with our tasting notes
  • Get the basics from IVBAM (government body regulating madeira)
  • Niklas Jörgensen's "Madeira: A Five-Week Stay" (which H&H's rep told us is one of the most comprehensive articles she has ever seen)
  • Dr. Reutter's Madeira Wine Guide
  • Wine authority Jancis Robinson's tasting notes from The Great Island Tasting


  1. Hi! Thanks for linking my article. You can also find me on

    Maybe I'm stupid but where can i find your notes on what you tasted and whom you visited on Madeira? Would love to read it!



  2. Hi Niklas, I just haven't had a chance to post my tasting notes yet. Coming soon! We visited all seven madeira producers in 5 days. Best regards, FWMaven



Food and Wine Mavens Design by Insight © 2009