Once owned by the portuguese royal family, today the company of Henriques & Henriques belongs to John Cossart. His father had been steward and cellarman for 53 years and became majority owner after the last of the original Henriqes died in 1978 without issue. With 15 hectares of property Henriques & Henriques is the biggest grape producer of the island of Madeira.
Madeira is probably the most durable wine in the world and is usually marketed without vintage label. The finest qualities mature in wooden casks for ten years or more before they are sold. The label “Denominação de Origem Controlada” denotes a quality wine of a certain growing area. Verdelho is a kind of grape grown only in very small quantities. It also denotes a kind of Madeira that is somewhat fuller and of a semi-dry sweetness.
Compared to Porto and Sherry, the 2100 hectares of vineyard on this extremely steep island are very few. The grapes of Madeira are grown between 300 and 500 meters above sea level on narrow, steplike terraces hewn from the red and grey basalt rock.