About Madeira Island

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What’s Madeira Island like?

Basic Information

The main and largest island of Madeira archipelago is Madeira Island. Despite being the largest in the archipelago, Madeira Island itself is a small island situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, about 970km to the southwest of Lisbon, Portugal, and about 650km west of Morocco on the African continent.
The beauty of the island earned it the name ‘pearl of the Atlantic’ and it’s a European resort surrounded by mountains and greenery.
The north latitude that runs through the island, and if continued towards the West, meets the city of Los Angeles (U.S.A.). Mirroring in the Southern Hemisphere, the corresponding south latitude runs through the places like Perth (Australia) and Buenos Aires (Argentina).
The island offers a number of tourist spots including the Pico Ruivo mountain with the altitude of 1,800 meters that should bring your spirit of adventure out.
Once looking outward, the limitless expanse of the deep-blue ocean will make your eyes sparkle, and if you’re lucky, you might receive a special welcome from a graceful whale just off the coast!
Funchal is the central city in Madeira Island, with the population of 100,000. The city is home to the historical architectures built in the 15th century like Cathedral and the botanic garden which has a lovely collection of island’s unique local plants as well as those that were brought in from the outside world. There’s no doubt that you’ll enjoy the island’s unique culture and more!
If you’re a football fan, you can’t forget Cristiano Ronaldo when you talk about Madeira Island. The CR 7 Museum and bronze statue of Cristiano Ronaldo in the city of Funchal will convince you that the Portuguese forward is indeed the legend born in this island.
Basic Information


Madeira Island enjoys a mild climate all year round with and average yearly temperature of 22 degrees Celsius and is called ‘the island of perpetual spring’. The climate is typically described as a ‘microclimate’ because the climate changes between North and South, and according to the altitudes.
For instance, the southern part of the island is generally warm with lots of sunny days whilst the northern part is rather cool. During the winter, cities located at low altitude like Funchal would remain at 10℃ or higher, but mountainous areas and/or higher points might have snowy days. The island itself might be small, but it’s full of variety.

History of Madeira

In 1418, when Portugal was in the Age of Discovery, João Gonçalves Zarco, Tristão Vaz Teixeira and Bartolomeu Perestrelo were drifted whilst at sea to one of the islands in the archipelago due to the tempest, which was then called Port Santo Island.
Madeira Island was discovered in the following year (1419). Portugal began to colonise the island in 1420, instructed and supervised by Infante Dom Henrique of Portugal (Prince Henry), better known as The Navigator, and planted grapes, wheat and sugar canes in the island.
However, the island then was filled with other plants, and the colonists had to burn the woods and forests to secure the plantation field. The fire burnt the entire island, unfortunately, and kept burning the land for 7 years…
After this sad incident, the watercourses called ‘levadas’ were built and completed, which enabled agriculture even in the island with limited cultivated land.
Thanks to the sugar cane cultivation, sugar from Madeira makes a great impression in the world market. Yet again, this was taken over when Brazil was discovered and developed, triggering the price collapse, and sugar production industry in Madeira gradually declined.

History of Madeira Island

The grape planting, on the other hand, has documented record dated in 1450 which states/testifies the grape variety called Malvasia-Cândida was brought in from Crete (island), Greek at the early stage of colonisation. The document already talks about exporting wines, which proves that exportation of Madeira wines started within the first 25 years of colonisation.
In the 16th century, sugar cane farms were taken over by vineyard and the island started to see more and more local wine production. Both production and exportation of Madeira wines showed the steady increase during the 17th-18th centuries. Madeira wine received more and more positive reputations not only in Europe, but also in America which was another discovered and developed land as Colonies. By the middle of 18th century, the current character of Madeira Wine was established using the technique called ‘fortification’, which is to stop the alcohol fermentation before it was completed and adjust the sweetness (flavours), and another important technique called ‘estufagem’ was also introduced, which is basically the artificially-done heating process. These two technical developments played vital roles in the growth of Madeira Wine.

History of Madeira Island

Consumption of Madeira wine took a downward turn in the 19th century due to wars and conflicts in Europe and the Civil War in America. In addition, the phylloxera vastatrix epidemic and powdery mildew caused catastrophic damages to vines all over the world in the late 19th century, and Madeira Island wasn’t the exception. That was when islanders introduced grape variety called Tinta Negra and started cultivating it. Despite the critical ongoing situation, constant dedication and effort bore fruit and the production of Madeira wine successfully got back on track. Even after overcoming this crisis, there were always periodical big world-historical events and dreadful challenges including the Second World War, the Carnation Revolution in Portugal and participation in the EU, but whatever happens, all the grape growers and Madeira wine producers are passionate and dedicated to working on improvement of wine quality day by day.

History of Madeira Island

Alcoholic Drink in Madeira Island

Alcoholic Drink in Madeira Island

Alcoholic drinks produced in Madeira Island are still wine, rum made from locally-grown sugar cane, gin, microbrewed beer and Vermouth, in addition to Madeira Wine.
Casks used for Madeira Wine are sometimes sent and used for aging Scotch whiskey.
Kinoshita International imports and sells these alcoholic beverages from Madeira as well as Madeira Wine.

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