John Blandy first set foot on Madeira in 1807. In 1989, the Symington family became partners with the Blandy family and is helping to reinvigorate the Madeira trade.
Grapes are grown in volcanic soil and hand harvested due to steeply terraced cliffs. The resulting wines are highly acidic and were found by historical accident to benefit from being heated - a process that would destroy any other wine. Originally, Madeiras were heated by the sun, stored in casks on the decks of boats exploring the world during the 18th century.
Today, Madeiras are heated in a process called “estufagem,” which gives them great concentration and an incredible capacity to age while retaining some of the vibrant acidity unique to these wines.