The fortified wines of Madeira were for centuries popular in the countries of northern Europe, and although less fashionable in the twenty first century are still important products of the Portuguese island, 1100 km south-west of Lisbon.
The history of wine production in the island is celebrated in a museum established by the Institute of Wine in a building that once belonged to Henry Veitch, English consul in Madeira in the early nineteenth century, the principal feature of which is a high watch tower that provides spectacular views of the landscapes around Funchal. The collection includes photographs, prints, barrels and other utensils used in winemaking.
The same industry features in another museum in Funchal, the Sao Franciso Cellars, in a former monastery, a collection of ancient buildings clustered around a cobbled courtyard lined with banana and palm trees. Exhibits include a seventeenth-century wine press, large vats in oak, mahogany and sandal wood, and murals depicting wine-making and –drinking by the German artist Max Romer.