Situated off the north west coast of Africa, the island of Madeira is home to one of Portugal's best known and widely loved imports. Madeira wine has been made for centuries from the grape varietals which thrive and flourish on the island, and is the lasting evidence of the innovation shown by Portuguese and British sailors, keen to make their wine last longer on ocean voyages. Madeira is an idyllic place, and a wonderful location for viticulture. The blazing sunshine lasts almost all year long, and provides plenty of time for slow, full ripening of quality grape varietals such as Malvasia and Sercial, whilst the mineral rich and volcanic soils of the island provide the vines with all the nutrients and character they require.
One of the oldest regions of Portugal for wine production and vine cultivation is the Bairrada, the lush and clay-rich region responsible for an impressive range of red, white and rosÃ© wines of exceptional quality. As with much of the country, this region benefits from long, hot summers, allowing the grapes to ripen to full maturity and thus carry a wide range of flavors and aromas. However, each region of Portugal produces wines which reach a high level of quality, from the more urbanized regions around Lisbon and Porto, where the famous fortified and Colares wines originate, to the island of Madeira and the Dao river valley, which each have their own distinctive wine cultures. The several thousand years of viticultural history in Portugal has allowed Portuguese wineries to master their own traditional techniques, which are still employed to this day across the country, yielding excellent results for the world to enjoy.