The Blandy Family


John Blandy
John Blandy, the founder of Blandy’s arrived in Madeira in 1808. A letter of introduction sent from London to Messrs Newton, Gordon, Murdoch, wine merchants in Madeira – found in 2006 – read: ‘Sirs! At the desire of our particular friend, Richard Fuller Esq., Banker in this City, we beg leave to introduce Mr John Blandy who visits your Island on account of ill health and wishes to obtain employment in a Counting House. We shall be obliged if you can promote his views and accordingly recommend him to your attention.’ The letter is dated 23 December 1807 implying that John Blandy arrived in the island early in 1808.


John Blandy
In 1811 he founded his own business as a wine shipper and general trader with his brothers Thomas and George and started to set the foundation for the family and the island itself with the production of the most famous and unique wine in the world – Madeira wine.

The company soon started exporting wine to the four corners of the world and to places as far as Russia, Northern Europe, Antilles and North America. In order to broaden their activities they also began importing various products from other origins.

The Blandy family is unique in being the only family of all the original founders of the Madeira wine trade to still own and manage their own original wine company. Throughout its long history on the island, the family has played a leading role in the development of Madeira wine and continues to do so today, maintaining a tradition that goes back to 1811; 2 centuries of fine wine production.


John Blandy’s tenacity in buying up small property holdings over the course of nearly 20 years allowed the family to have what is known today as Blandy’s Wine Lodge. These wine lodges, some of the oldest on the island, boast special properties – aside from their historical heritage – which contribute to the making of truly remarkable wines. Their layout, shape and structure create a combination of unique temperature and humidity conditions, stretching from the cellar up to the highest attics, which make the wine lodges perfect for ageing Madeira wine.


During the disastrous oidium plague in 1852 it was Charles Blandy who had the foresight to buy up a great proportion of the stocks of old wine on the island thus safeguarding his company’s ability to continue selling Madeira wine.

Many others followed his lead with this one goal in mind: to consolidate and leave the company in a better position for future generations.


In 1925 Blandy’s decided to join the Madeira Wine Association: a group of wine companies formed in 1913, with the aim to maximise global exposure and minimise overheads in a world where the export market was experiencing an all-time low.

Led by the Blandy family since the late 1970’s, this association managed to survive the bleak years whilst many individual companies fell by the wayside. This association evolved to what is known today as the Madeira Wine Company.


Madeira Wine Company

By the late 1970’s the interests in the Madeira Wine Company as it became known, were reduced to just a handful of the original families with the Blandy family holding the controlling share.

In 1989 in order to further expand the global market the Blandys approached another Anglo-Portuguese family, the Symingtons of Oporto (Port producers since the 19th century) and offered them a partnership in the Madeira Wine Company.


Wine Lodge Cofre
In 2011 Blandy's celebrated its bicentenary and, on the 1st of August, the company signed an agreement with Symington Family Estates that gave the Blandy family control of the Madeira Wine Company, with Symington holding a minority share. This partnership has continued to the present day, enabling the Madeira Wine Company to play a leading role in the development of the Madeira wine trade.


The Blandy family today remains majority shareholder of Madeira Wine Company and continues to represent not only Blandy's Madeira but also Cossart Gordon, Miles, Atlantis and other wine brands.

Today Michael and Chris Blandy members of the 6th and 7th generations of the family continue to work in the company which is today run by Chris and is the world’s leading producer of premium quality Madeira wine.
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    Zona Franca Industrial da Madeira
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    Madeira – Portugal

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Blandy's Wine Lodge
  • Avenida Arriaga 28,
    9000-064 Funchal,
    Madeira – Portugal

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