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MAKING THE WINE IN MADEIRA.
end of July, and from three to four weeks later in the north. Now the presses and casks are put in a state of preparation—the latter ought to be well cleaned and seasoned. The mode of expressing the juice is just that mentioned in Scripture, treading the winepress.' Boys and girls (after the press has been filled with grapes) are put into it; then hands and feet go to work, to express as much juice as possible; after which a rude press finishes this stage
of the process.
As the juice runs out it is received into casks, and, if left to the farmer to prepare for exportation, undergoes the process of fermentation on the spot where it is made. If not, it is sent from the vineyard to the merchant's stores in the state it issues from the press ; only, in the latter case, it is received in small casks called barrils, or into goat-skins, and thus brought down from the hills—the barrils being slung across mules: the goat-skins laid on men's shoulders, to be deposited in the stores of the purchasers. This is called buying wine in ‘mosto '— that is, immediately from the press : the other, made when the farmer has prepared the wine, is called buying in limpo,' or in a clear state.
After the new wine has been put into the casks in which it is intended to be treated, half a gallon of brandy is poured into each pipe, and it is allowed to remain quiet, with a few leaves laid over the bunghole, and the bung placed lightly over them. Then begins the fermentation ; and, if all goes on well, the wine, after twelve or fourteen days, has become much clearer. If it remains so, in three or four days more they prepare another set of pipes, well cleaned, put into each another half-gallon of brandy, and rack all the clear wine into fresh casks.
These are allowed to remain undisturbed for eight or ten days, by which time the wine will have become still clearer. Frequently, one or more casks continue turbid, pouring out like a syrup, when it is called “acra doce.' When such is the case it is necessary to rack it into a clean pipe, making it pass from the cock to the bucket, through a whisk, so as to divide the particles thoroughly. The whole ought to be now sufficiently clear, and, after another fortnight or three weeks, ready for another racking —that is, provided fermentation has ceased.
The wine is then racked a second time, fined, and another gallon of brandy added. In ten days it ought to be bright, and fit to be put into the larger butts, where it remains to ripen, till sold, when it is drawn off into pipes, hogsheads, or quarters, and, with another gallon of brandy for each pipe, is ready for exportation.
The madeira in common use is made from both a white and black grape of a small size, generally mixed together, either at the time of pressing or treatingtwo or three rackings or finings being sufficient to take off all the dark colour.
The wines called Sercial, Boal, and Malmsey, are delicious. The two first are very dry, the last is
LANDLORD AND TENANT IN MADEIRA.
remarkably sweet ; all three are made from a white grape, rather dear and scarce, very little being grown. The island is capable of growing 25,000 to 30,000 pipes annually, about 10,000 to 15,000 of which may be exported; the remainder being drunk or converted into brandy, very considerable quantities of which are now made on the island. By a law of the last Cortes, all foreign brandy was prohibited, and thus the growers were thrown upon the resources of the island.
The beneficial effects of this measure were twofold: 1st, they saved their specie which was paid for foreign brandy, and, what was much more important, all the low green acid grapes, in place of being mixed with Madeira wine, were made into brandy of very good quality. The wines exported for the last ten years are so superior to those of the previous twenty, that the improvement in quality can only be accounted for as the effect of this wise regulation.
The contract between landlord and tenant in this island is rather singular. The latter cultivates the ground, and is at all the expense of bringing the produce to maturity ; the half of which he takes, and the landlord the other. Tenants are rarely put off the estates, if they can manage, with the assistance of their neighbours, which they generally do, to build a wall to keep in the soil. They cannot be turned off till the landlord has paid them for the wall the value put upon it by two sworn appraisers. This, however, not one in fifty of the landlords is able to do, as they live up to their incomes, and are generally in debt.
Almost all landed property is entailed, and is called “morgado property ; ' it cannot be sold without the consent of all the heirs; even the guardians of infants who may possibly be heirs, however remote, must consent. This is productive of many lawsuits, which are multiplied by the fondness of the Portuguese for litigation ; it is often a boast amongst them that they will leave their demandas' (lawsuits) as a bequest to their children. Threefourths of their suits are carried to Lisbon by appeal, and for final decision.
Madeira is a gem in the Portuguese crown; and a sparkling and valuable jewel it is, not only for its beauty, but for its valuable produce and healthy climate. No one who has ever visited it can fail to be struck with the beauty of its scenery and the luxuriance of its produce ; and were its revenues fairly collected and accounted for to the government, it would form a large item in the resources of Por
The seasons are remarkably regular, and it is never visited by those awful hurricanes so common and so destructive in tropical climates. Its healthiness is proved by the recovery of many who have resorted to it in consumption, and similar complaints.
This account of Madeira and its wines was given to me, as I have already remarked, nearly thirty
DIMINISHED DEMAND FOR MADEIRA.
years ago, when the island was truly “the gem of the ocean;' but “tempora mutantur' may be now applied, for its wines are as of things gone by.
I think it was in Madeira, in 1851 or 1852, that the vine disease first showed itself, and there it has worked with the most destructive effect.
During the last four years the average yearly consumption has been 312 pipes, and its proportionate consumption to all kinds about 0:35 per cent. ; whereas, from 1804 to 1828, there were annually about 3,500 pipes paid duty upon, and the percentage to the whole was about 5. It should, however, be added, that the use of madeira had been diminishing for more than twenty years previous to the oïdium. The demand, for some time, had much exceeded its power of producing the fine quality, which is grown only in the south of the island, and the northern part was brought into requisition. Madeira wine thus fell in repute, and sherry usurped its place.
When madeira is originally fine, and kept till quite ripe, there is a soft fullness, with a delicious, pungent, delicate high flavour that surpasses every other kind, and compared to which even the best sherry is tasteless and flavourless.
The price is now, of course, very high, and it is difficult to meet with any very good.
In the northern and other parts of the island, many of the vines have been rooted out and replaced by the sugar-cane, grain, &c., but they have