This walk features all the important wine locations of downtown Funchal. This means that Silva Vinhos, Henriques & Henriques and Justino Henriques are not in the walk, since they are located outside the city. The walk can be done in both directions and requires about 90 minutes pure walking time, tasting and sightseeing not included. Take a backpack with you to transport the wine, that you will inevitably buy on this walk. You start at the market hall. All city busses stop two roads to the south, so it should be easy to get to the market, even when your hotel is outside Funchal.
Azulejo in the market hall
Inside the market you will find lots of fruit, fish and wine.
Fruit vendors in the market hall
At least once you have to go inside before 11 o’clock to get into the atmosphere of the market. Take a look at the fish market in the back part of the market hall too. Especially the espada fish and the big slices of tuna are very impressive.
Espadas seen at the fish market
Standing in front of the Mercado, we cross the Rua Brigadeiro Oudinot and the Rua do Visconde do Anadia, which frame a small river the Riba de Joao Gomes. Then we walk up the hill on the western side of the Rua do Visconde do Anadia, passing the Anadia Shopping Center. With number 33 you can find the white building of Patricio & Gouveia Sucrs, where embroidery is produced. In the cellar you can also taste Madeira wine (of course!), and buy porcelain and azulejos. In 2003 the company also offered (after some talking about Madeira wine) a thirty year old wine from the family of the owners, said to be matured in the huge casks that can be found in the basement of the building. These bottles do not bear any IVM seal. I wonder if the IVM knows about this…
Patricio & Gouveia Sucrs.
We continue up the hill and turn left into the Rua do Carmo that takes a downhill turn. After a few seconds you will see a shabby house on the left side, number 86. Vinhos Justino Henriques Filhos used to produce Madeira wine here, before they moved the entire company to the industrial park Cancela close to Canico. It's easy to imagine how bad conditions must have been here.
Old building of Vinhos Justino Henriques in the Rua do Carmo
The Rua do Carmo continues downhill and meets the Rua Dr. Ferao Ornelas and then the Rua 31 de Janeiro at right angles. Together with the Rua 5 de Outobro another small river, Riba de Santa Luzia, is framed by these two streets. We turn right and walk up the hill again on the Rua 31 de Janeiro. Across the river we can see a castle-like building, the Instituto do Vinho da Madeira.
Instituto do Vinho da Madeira
Just before the next junction you will find the building of H. M. Borges Sucrs. on the right side. In this old mill the wine processing, the maturation the bottling, labeling and export is done. In the tasting room you can sip from the blends and buy them. If you are interested in old vintages or soleras you will have to ask for them. Even when it is very hot outside, the room inside is refreshingly cool and you can catch your breath here for a few minutes.
H. M. Borges
Next stop is the Instituto do Vinho da Madeira, that we saw on our way up. We cross the river and walk the Rua 5 de Outobro down just a short distance, where we find the entrance to the Instituto. In the building you can find the museum with an interesting display of old photographs about Madeira wine. Sometimes they even have wine to taste. Some companies use the storing capacities of the Instituto when their own are used up.
View down the Ribera de Santa Luzia with the Instituto do Vinho da Madeira in the right and H. M. Borges in the left.
Up the hill again on the Rua 5 de Outobro, crossing the Rua de Bom Jesus until the next bridge over the river. Turn left and you can see the building of the Adegas de Torreao across the street. In autumn 2003 the building was closed.
Adegas do Torreao
Left to the Adegas you can see the entry to the Merces-Lodge of the Madeira wine Company, easy to read on the big brass plate. The MWC stores some of its wines here that couldn't find a place in the Sao Francisco Lodges.
MWC’s Merces Lodge
We turn and enter the Rua dos Ferreiros, leading down the hill, parallel to the Rua 5 de Outobro that we walked up just a few minutes ago. First we pass the house number 188, located on the left side. This is the old building of the Companhia Vinicola da Madeira. In 2003 only the front wall had remained, the back of the property being used as a parking lot. We then pass the house number 115, located on the right side. This is where the shop of Casa dos Vinhos, associated with Henriques & Henriques used to be, before the company moved to Camara de lobos.
Old building of the Companhia Vinicola
Downhill you will find Artur de Barros e Sousa and Pereira D'Oliveira. Visit Barros e Sousa first, not because this company is better, but because you will experience a kind of time travel by doing so. Walking though the door bearing the number 109 you enter the past of Madeira wine production. To the right you see the inner courtyard with its vines and the three-story building where the wines are matured. Artur or Edmundo Olim will give you a sightseeing tour you are unlikely to forget. Everything is done by hand here, and the smell from the old casks is overwhelming and makes you thirsty for a tasting and buying. After that you will be glad for the shade of the vines in the inner courtyard.
Entrance to Artur de Barros e Sousa
Just one building to the left Pereira D'Oliveira is located. Here you find the modern face of Madeira wine with a huge tasting room where you can also buy blends and vintages. Pereira D'Oliveira and Barros e Sousa also send wine by mail.
We continue down the Rua dos Ferreiros, until reaching the Praca do Municipio with its black and white cobblestones.
Praca do Municipio
We turn right and follow the Rua C. Pestana. The third Road to the left is the Avenida Zarco. We walk down this road and meat the Avenida Arriaga at cross angles where we turn right again. In the middle of the Avenida you can find many benches where you can sit in the shade, if the traffic is not too heavy.
A few steps on, you will find the tourist information on the right side. The entry to the old Blandy wine lodge is next. Enter and ascend the stairs and you find yourself in the heart of the Madeira Wine Company. To the right there is a shop where you can buy souvenirs, to the left you reach another inner courtyard with the Max Romer tasting room and the Frasqueira vintage room. Further on to the right you will find the Arcadas de Sao Francisco with may shops. Twice a day you can join a very interesting sightseeing tour through the building. In the tasting room there is free tasting of the blends, in the vintage room you can taste old vintages against a fee and buy them. Walking back to the Avenida Arriaga again, you will find another shop just left to the entry when standing in front of the building.
Entrance to the Old Blandy Winelodge
The tourists with stamina can keep on walking the Avenida in western direction to the Parque de Cristovao Colombo. The street is now called Avenida do Infante, and if you keep on walking it changes names again into the Estrada Monumental.
Follow this road and after 15 minutes you will reach Vinhos Barbeito on the left side, just after you passed the famous Reid's hotel. The low building with the huge chimney hosts the estufas, bottling lines and tasting rooms as well as the sales department. If the walk back seems to long, have a break at the Reid's for the five o'clock tea. Be advised though, that you will not be allowed on the terrace with blue jeans.
Entrance to the Reid’s Hotel
At the western end of the Avenida there is a traffic cycle. To the hill you will find Diogo's Wineshop in the house with the number 48. The shop is an outlet for Vinhos Barbeito but is also well assorted in other wines such as Port wine. The shop also contains the Museu Cristovao Colombo and a private book collection about Madeira wine. We walk back the Avenida on the southern side, the one closer to the harbor and turn right at the first corner into the Rua do Conselheiro Jose Silvestre Ribeiro, leading down to the Avenida do Mar.
Casa do Turista
On the left side, just at the corner to the Avenida do Mar you will find the Casa do Turista, house number 2. This shop is not only a shop, but also a museum. You can look at and buy embroidery, porcelain, wicker works and wine, bottled by Justino Henriques Vinhos. Sometimes they even have old vintage Madeiras from private island sources for sale.
Palacio de Sao Lorenco
Down at the Avenida do Mar there are many bus stops in front of the Palacio de Sao Lourenco with busses in all major directions. You can also take a walk on the shore back to the Mercado where we started the walk. In the Mercado there is another wineshop called Garrafeira. If you prefer a rest, just buy a few sweet chestnuts or a Bolo de Caco with garlic butter or sit down in one of the cafes. This is where our walk ends.
Chestnut roaster at Funchal harbour