‘You heard it on the grapevine’: Madeira Wine Festival

madeira wine

(Photo credit; y kawahara)

Today’s post was written by Robert Plum.

Prepare your taste buds for Portugal’s Madeira Wine Festival (1st- the 8th September 2013, Madeira Island). What better place to enjoy the ‘next best thing in wine’, according to Forbes.com, than the island from whence it came?

Madeira wine is almost as old as the island itself. It was discovered in 1419, and shortly after exports of the world-famous wine began globally. The precious juice made waves all over the globe, celebrated by the likes of William Shakespeare and Churchill. Its defining success, however, was being chosen as the wine with which to toast the independence of the United States of America.

Every year wine lovers flock to the island to pay homage to the sweet nectar. Held during the main period of grape harvesting, the festival kicks off in the village of Camera de Lobos during the actual picking of the grapes. Then there is the picker’s parade, the treading of the grapes (where everyone gets very messy in a big vat of grapes) and a host of other traditional activities.

If you don’t fancy mucking in, you can still enjoy the light and sound shows, as well as the folk performances. Treat yourself to traditional rich Madeira dishes of meat and seafood followed by slices of Bolo Be Mel (honey cake). Delicioso!

Madeira really does have everything a wine lover could want, from good produce to delicious local culinary offerings. When you’re done whetting your palate, try one of Madeira’s walking trails and enjoy the backdrop of Portugal’s most beautiful scenery.

Rocks-on-the-coast-of-Madeira-by-Jsome1-Creative-Commons

(Photo credit: Jsome1)

The island is about the size of the Isle of Wight and, though it rises to 6,106ft, a good 9,000ft of the island is below the ocean floor. The unique geography is also the source of its beauty, and it is sometimes possible to drive from snow to sunshine in under half an hour (Strawberry Autos have been recommended on the Madeira tourist board website). With rolling rain clouds surrounding the snow-capped mountains and deep red volcanic soil, the island is as fertile as it is beautiful and even if wine isn’t your thing, there is no shortage of other things to enjoy here.

Madeira is known for its traditional atmosphere, and holiday-goers come to relax and get away from the humdrum of busy nightlife. This is a place to relax, listen to the crickets and soak in the sea air. In a bid to scale up their tourist offerings, Madeira has been recently revamped and now includes a host of luxury hotels alongside the quaint, antiquated buildings. Whether you want a cosy bed and breakfast or you’d rather enjoy the island in five star luxury, there’s something for everyone here. Interested in booking a holiday to Portugal? Check out First Choice’s all inclusive holidays to Portugal.

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