In 2011 Blandy's Madeira celebrated its bicentenary with several international events, and on the 1st of August, the Blandy and Symington family of Oporto signed an agreement that gave the Blandy family control of the Madeira Wine Company (MWC). Symington Family Estates will continue to be a shareholder in the MWC, although a minority one.
Cossart Gordon, the oldest established Madeira Wine company, was founded in 1745 by William Gordon and Francis Newton. In 1808 William Cossart an Irishman of Huguenot descent joined the firm that later came to be known by its present name. Cossart Gordon & Co. prospered, trading with the American colonies where the company acquired an unequalled reputation as suppliers of the finest Madeira’s. The colonies in North America were at the time the largest and most discerning market, so much so that the best production was known as “American Madeira”. Cossart Gordon also opened their own office in Britain to look after the important British trade, maintaining this presence until the late 1980´s. As a result of the fine reputation gained over two and a half centuries, the firm today enjoys an unrivalled reputation as one of the finest producers of Madeira Wine, in particular for its fine Bual wines.
The Leacock’s first arrived on the lush green sub-tropical Island of Madeira in 1741. It was Thomas Slapp Leacock whose tenacity in identifying and treating the phylloxera wine disease at his renowned St. John vineyard saved the islands traditional grape varieties. He was amongst the first in Europe to realise that the American rootstock was resistant to the disease. He later bequeathed his outstanding research to Cambridge University in Britain. As a result of this work Leacock´s now world famous Madeira is branded “Leacock´s St. John”, one the most sought after and well know Madeira wines available in the world.
The firm that was eventually to become Miles Madeira was originally known as Rutherford & Grant, established on the Island in 1814. In 1878, James Price, surviving partner of the firm, was no newcomer to the company for, in 1863 when only 12 years old, he had been apprentice to Rutherford & Grant, having acquired sound knowledge and experience of the working of the Madeira Trade. His sons and grandsons followed him in the business, and Miles Madeira became one of the most respected brands of the island’s wine.
Today Michael and Chris Blandy, members of the 6th and 7th generations, continue to work in the company, which is today run by Chris, and is the world’s leading producer of premium quality Madeira wine.