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Recognized throughout the world as a tourist destination par excellence, Madeira Island's notoriety is due, among other factors, to the wine that bears its name and which has gained fame and prestige worldwide.

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Where is the Madeira Archipelago?

The Madeira Archipelago is made up of two inhabited islands - Madeira and Porto Santo, and other uninhabited islands - Desertas and Selvagens. The archipelago is located between 35º and 45º north latitude (slightly below Casablanca) and 17º west latitude, lying 1100 km from the coast of Portugal and 600 km from the African coast.

Porto Santo Island

The island of Porto Santo is a unique island, also known as Ilha Dourada. It emerged 14 million years ago in the Atlantic Ocean, being geologically one of the oldest islands of the Portuguese archipelagos. It was also the first to be discovered by Zarco in 1418.

With an Atlantic climate, Porto Santo is the most arid island in Portugal, with as little rain as in the interior south of mainland Portugal (Alentejo). Low-growing viticulture is also practiced on very special soils: calcareous soils (calcareous sandstones) resulting from deposits of wind and shells, molluscs and other marine fauna, from the last 10 million years.

The traditional grape varieties on the island of Porto Santo are also unique and different from any other in Portugal: Listrão, shared with the Canary Islands, where it is known as “Listan Blanco” and the Caracol grape variety, still of uncertain origin.

Listrão 

The Listrão grape variety is a grape variety that is grown in Porto Santo, as well as in the Canary Islands, Jerez, and mainland Portugal. It is believed that the Listrão grape variety was introduced to the island around the 15th century by Portuguese sailors returning from their voyages to the African continent.

Caracol

Caracol is one of the traditional grape varieties of the island of Porto Santo. There are several stories and myths about its potential origin, such as that a Mr. Caracol brought and planted it. However, the scientific literature seems to relate this variety to the Canarian "Cédres" variety and it seems to have a very close genetic relationship with the Listrão, and may eventually be a descendant of it. The little reliable information we have is that it has existed in Porto Santo for longer than we can remember.

Caracol is a grape variety used in Madeira wine production, planted on Madeira Island and also on Porto Santo. Ancient people say that they used to come to Porto Santo, where it ripened more, to give a more golden color to Madeira wines.

Madeira Island

The total area of ​​the Madeira Island wine region is around 500 hectares. It is a unique landscape and is characterized by its volcanic soils, mostly basaltic, and its proximity to the sea. The land has very steep slopes, overcome by terraces.

The most traditional conduction system is that of the “latada” (pergola), in which the vines are conducted horizontally.

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