Madeira Wine Festival

Madeira Wine Festival

The Madeira Wine Festival is one of Madeira's many tourist attractions an event that pays tribute to this precious nectar and its undeniable socioeconomic significance. Taking place in the midst of the vintages (late August, early September), this event aims to recreate the old traditions of its locals, which were developed over centuries of labor in viticulture. The Madeira Wine Festival celebrations are a tribute to the effort involved in its production and at the same time serves to promote and to reaffirm Madeira Islands as a tourist destination of excellence overseas. This event has been commemorated since the late seventies. Nowadays these festivities begins in Funchal downtown area, and include the European Folklore Week, ornamentations, exhibitions, displays and live portrays depicting Madeira wine and the craft involved in its production, in addition to a diversity of concerts based on light music and traditional music shows.

From August, 30th onwards, the city of Funchal, and especially the Avenida Arriaga pedestrian street, is filled with various adornments comprising several tools used in the art of viticulture (presses, casks, barrels, grape picking baskets, traditional means of transportation), Includes displays and re-enactments of the wine-making process in Madeira (grape pressing, re-enactment of the regional craftsmen traditional customs), apart from the local gastronomy, the typical Madeira wine tastings and exhibitions on Madeira and regional handicrafts. Throughout the four days of this festival several concerts will be taking place with performances by local folklore and traditional Madeiran music groups apart from other music concerts by Madeira light Orchestra, The Wine Festival culminates on Monday September 12th, with a bold agenda filled with lots of entertainment.

Madeira Wine History

Legend has it that Henry the Navigator was the main advocate of Madeira Wine and who encouraged the cultivation of the Malvasia Candida grape originating from Candia in Crete, which became a success. By the mid-15th century, Madeira wine was exported and its export routes included Europe, where it was seen as being very refined to the extent that it was even used as perfume on the handkerchiefs of the ladies in waiting at court.

Photo: Visit Madeira Islands/Madeira regional board

Such was the prestige of this delicious drink that there are frequent references to it throughout history in the arts and legends of some countries. A few basic examples include the fact it was titled a precious essence in William Shakespeare's play Henry IV, the Duke of Clarence is put to death by drowning in a vat of Malmsey wine, there is Winston Churchill's famous toast, made during one of his stays in Madeira (1950), with wine that Napoleon spurned after acquiring it in Madeira on his way to exile on the island of St. Helena.

 

In America, General George Washington, who was a great fan of Madeira wine, ensured that it was served at all the celebrations he was involved in, including his inauguration as president of the USA and the Independence Day celebrations. Drinking Madeira wine took off in the 20th century for upper class Americans and became part of their social lives, especially for residents of the East coast of the USA, in cities like Savannah were the famous "Madeira Parties" were organized, which are still re-enacted today in the Davenport House Museum in Savannah, where the 'Madeira Club' still exists.

Photo: Visit Madeira Islands/Madeira regional board

Programme

Taking place during the grape harvest in late August, early September, this event aims to recreate the old traditions of Madeira, which were developed over centuries of labour in viticulture. This event has been commemorated since the late seventies of the last century. It begins in Funchal and includes European Folklore Week, ornamentations, exhibitions and live portraits depicting wine and its crafts and light and traditional music performances. This Festival culminates in Estreito de Câmara de Lobos, with the Wine Harvest Festival. Find out more about what to expect from the Madeira Wine Festival:
 
Saturday
On Saturday morning all attention is focused on the Estreito de Câmara de Lobos, where the Wine Harvest Festival takes place. The harvest takes place on a Madeiran farm, followed by an ethnographic parade with the participation of a large number of folklore and ethnography groups. After the parade, the treading of the grapes is re-enacted - participation is free - using a traditional press in a festive atmosphere with lots of musical entertainment and regional cuisine.
 
Other initiatives included in the programme:
 
European Folklore Week
European Folklore Week, an event organised by the Boa Nova Ethnography and Folk Group, is a folklore festival that aims to promote an intercultural gathering and promote ethnographic realities, with the participation of national and foreign groups.

Photo: Visit Madeira Islands/Madeira regional board
 
Live Wine Harvest
On Saturday morning all attention is focused on the Estreito de Câmara de Lobos, where the Wine Harvest Festival takes place. The harvest takes place on a Madeiran farm, followed by an ethnographic parade with the participation of a large number of folklore and ethnography groups. After the parade the treading of the grapes is re-enacted - participation is free - using a traditional press in a festive atmosphere with lots of musical entertainment and regional cuisine.

Photo: Visit Madeira Islands/Madeira regional board
 
Street Entertainment
The city centre of Funchal, especially the central walkway of Avenida Arriaga, will be filled with various adornments comprising several viticulture tools (presses, casks, barrels, grape picking baskets, traditional means of transportation), living portraits and actors who re-enact the winemaking process in Madeira (grape pressing, re-enactment of the regional craftsmen traditional customs), food, Madeira wine tastings and exhibitions and regional handicrafts. Performances by local folklore groups, traditional Madeiran music and light music performances by the Madeira Light Orchestra will also liven up the four days of the festival.
 
 

Funchal
Portugal

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