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The beautiful and sun-drenched island of Madeira, found off of the north west coast of Africa and which are part of Portugal, have long been the home to one of the world's most loved and widely drank fortified wines, named after the island itself. Madeira is a fascinating island, and one which played an important role in the discovery of the wider world, as it was a vital port between Europe and Africa, or the Americas to the west. The island has been producing wines since the 17th century, when the fortified wine it is famous for was first made, by adding grape spirits to still wines in order to stop it from turning bad on the long sea voyages. Today, the island still has a rich wine industry, helped by the almost tropical oceanic climate it enjoys, and the exceptional soils which support a wide range of grape varietals.