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A Good Year for Grapes

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Rural Development, Humberto Vasconcelos has announced that this year, the Madeira archipelago grape harvest is expected to reach 4,200 tonnes: higher than last year’s figure of 3,960 tonnes.

The newly released data coincides with the advancement of the official opening of the grape harvest, this is usually set for the 31st of August, but due to the exceptionally hot weather over the next couple of days, which will accelerate the ripening of the fruits, it was decided to bring the dates forward. This year’s harvest, as in previous years, brings together approximately 2,100 winegrowers and 18 producers of Madeira Wine and table wine.

Currently, the grape cultivation area in the autonomous region is 440 hectares. The majority (more than 60%) is located in the municipality of Câmara de Lobos, especially in the parish of Estreito de Câmara de Lobos. Further concentrations of vineyards are to the west of the island, and in São Vicente, on the north coast.

In 2019 93% of the crops sold were bought by companies engaged in the production and the trade of liqueur wine under the Designation of Origin (DO) Madeira or “Madeira Wine” label. A further 5.3% of the harvests were purchased by wine companies operating under the DO “Madeirense” and Geographical Indication (IG) “Terras Madeirenses”.

The Madeira Wine, Embroidery and Handicraft Institute (IVBAM) reports show that last year’s wine campaign (between August 2019 and July 2020), saw the production of 35,344 million hectoliters of liqueur wine, 1,413 hectoliters of “Madeirense” wine, 23 hectoliters of sparkling wine and 73 hectoliters of IG wine “Terras Madeirans.”

Madeira’s grape harvest is marked every year with the Madeira Wine Festival, one of the biggest summer tourist attractions, and will take place from the 3rd to the 27th of September.

Samantha Gannon

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