Making Madeira in years gone by

Making Madeira in years gone by……….


Emptying the wine skin
Emptying the wine skin


Madeira has been made for many hundreds of years and experienced many changes in its production over the years.

Today Madeira wine is produced to the highest standard and is managed by IVBAM who are located in this beautiful looking office in Funchal.



It is possible to visit the offices of IVBAM and see a small exhibition, but do check before making a special trip.

Madeira wine was grown and pressed by the individual growers and transported to the producers for maturing and madeirization in skins as shown below:





Today many farmers still produce their own table wine, but it is rarely for sale or available to visitors. It does however illustrate the Madeira has a long tradition of producing table wines and now markets some interesting new generation of table wines to visitors to the island.

These directly produced wines tend to be rustic, very fresh and quite refreshing with lower alcohol levels than traditional Madeira wines.

The old days


Madeira was once matured quite differently as well, the wines were sent on a long trip to the tropics, India and the East Indies to be heated up to produce that lovely caramel oxidized taste. Here barrels are being transported for their travels as vina roda.






Today no Madeira leaves the island in barrels for maturation or sale (as in years gone by). Madeira is matured either in barrels in lofts as per the Canteiro process relying on the islands sunny gently warm climate  or is heated carefully and gently in large tanks as per the estufagem process.

The only barrels that leave Madeira now are usually empty and destined for the whisky industry where Madeira wine finished whisky is hugely prized.