Off the coast of Africa, 1,000km from mainland Portugal, the semi-tropical island of Madeira has long been famous for its fortified wines, DOP Madeira. (Madeira has chosen to use the new EU designations, DOP and IGP.) Now, along with its sandy neighbor Porto Santo, it has a second DOP for its unfortified wines, DOP Madeirense.
Madeira’s vineyards are fragmented into tiny plots along terraces carved into the volcanic slopes. Most vines are trained on pergolas. The grapes (85% of production is dominated by the Tinta Negra varietal) are harvested between mid-August and mid-October, small-scale growers delivering sometimes tiny quantities of grapes.