Madeira is named after the island in Portugal where this unique wine is produced. It was discovered by a Portuguese explorer named Gonsalves Zarco, who was blown off course en route to West Africa. While resting on the smaller island he called Porto Santo, he could see another island through the mist and set off to check it out. This gorgeous island was so lush and covered with trees that he named it “Madeira,” which is Portuguese for “wood.”
Once the island was colonized and the land was cleared of many of the trees, the cultivation of sugarcane (from Sicily) began, as well as that of Malvasia grapes (from Cyprus). But because the Portuguese colony of Brazil was already profiting so well from the sugar industry, and making it finer and cheaper than Madeiran product, the focus turned to wine production. Since Madeira is perfectly positioned within the Atlantic shipping lanes to be a natural port of call for ships on their way to and from the Americas or Africa and Asia Read more »
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