• Our History

    Our History


How it all began

The Madeira Wine Company, S.A. (MWC) was originally started as an association, founded in 1913 by a number of Madeira wine producing companies, who decided to join forces in order to maximize their global exposure and minimize overheads in a world where the export market was experiencing an all-time low. During the inter-war years, the old family firms of Blandy’s and Leacock joined, followed immediately post-war by Miles and Cossart Gordon, thereby creating the largest producer and exporter of Madeira wine. Whatever the size, the maintaining of the unique characteristics and style of each individual firm was at the core of the association.


Partnership with Symington

By the late 1970’s the interests in the Madeira Wine Company as it became known, were reduced to just a handful of the original families with the Blandy family holding the controlling share. In 1989 the Blandy family, needing to strengthen the sales and marketing side of the business, invited the Symington Port shipping family from Oporto, Portugal to join them in partnership. This partnership has continued to the present day, enabling the Madeira Wine Company to play a leading role in the development of the Madeira wine trade.

Blandy´s takes back the controlling share

In 2011 the Blandy Group celebrated its bicentenary with several international events, and on the 1st of August signed an agreement with  Symington Family Estates that gave the Blandy family control of the Madeira Wine Company. Symington continues to be a shareholder in the MWC, although a minority one, and continues to distribute Blandy’s Madeira and other MWC brands through their associated companies: John E Fells in the UK, Premium Port Wines in the US and Portfolio in Portugal. Today, the Blandy family controls the major share of Madeira Wine Company and continues to represent not only Blandy's Madeira but also Cossart Gordon, Miles, Atlantis and other wine brands.

Blandy's story

Blandy’s is a 200-year-old family-owned business with a long tradition in fine winemaking. John Blandy - the founder of Blandy’s – established himself on the island of Madeira in 1811 and 7 generations later, the family continues to be directly involved in the production of Madeira wine.
Soon after its founding, the company started exporting wine to the four corners of the world - the barrels travelled to Russia, Northern Europe, the Antilles and North America.
In 1925 Blandy's joined the Madeira Wine Association; an association forged by a group of wine companies in order to strengthen their purchasing and wine making abilities.
In 1989, in order to further expand their global market, Blandy´s approached another Anglo-Portuguese family – the Symingtons – and offered them a partnership with the purpose of strengthening the sales and marketing aspects of the business. The Symingtons joined in 1989 and since then the company has been jointly managed by the 2 families, with Blandy's holding the majority share since 2011.

Cossart Gordon story

The oldest established Madeira Wine company, was founded in 1745 by William Gordon and Francis Newton. In 1808 William Cossart an Irishman of Huguenot descent joined the firm that later came to be known by its present name.
Cossart Gordon & Co. prospered, trading with the American colonies where the company acquired an unequalled reputation as suppliers of the finest Madeira’s. The colonies in North America were at the time the largest and most discerning market, so much so that the best production was known as “American Madeira”. Cossart Gordon also opened their own office in Britain to look after the important British trade, maintaining this presence until the late 1980 ́s. As a result of the fine reputation gained over two and a half centuries, the firm today enjoys an unrivalled reputation as one of the finest producers of Madeira Wine, in particular for its fine Bual wines.

Miles story

The firm that was eventually to become Miles Madeira was originally known as Rutherford & Grant, established on the Island in 1814. In 1878, James Price, surviving partner of the firm, was no newcomer to the company for, in 1863 when only 12 years old, he had been apprentice to Rutherford & Grant, having acquired sound knowledge and experience of the working of the Madeira Trade.
His sons and grandsons followed him in the business, and Miles Madeira became one of the most respected brands of the island’s wine.

Atlantis story

In 1992 Madeira Wine Company became the first company in Madeira island to produce and bottle a table wine, which was named Atlantis. The name was inspired by a legendary lost island in the Atlantic Ocean, often idealized as an advanced society holding wisdom that could bring world peace.
This winning project by MWC reflects the vision and pioneerism of the company even when the general opinion at the time was that the natural conditions of the island wouldn’t permit the production of quality table wines.
Our Atlantis is crafted by Francisco Albuquerque, the award-winning winemaker of Madeira Wine Company, three times considered the best fortified winemaker in the world.
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Madeira Wine Company
  • Plataforma 3, Pavilhão T
    Zona Franca Industrial da Madeira
    9200-047 Caniçal
    Madeira – Portugal

    Tel: (+351) 291740 100
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Blandy's Wine Lodge
  • Avenida Arriaga 28,
    9000-064 Funchal,
    Madeira – Portugal

    Tel: (+351) 291 228 978
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    w: www.blandyswinelodge.com

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