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 throughout its long history and members of the family continue to live on Madeira, maintaining a tradition that goes back to 1811; 2 centuries of fine wine production.
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.
In 1811 he founded his own business as a wine shipper and general trader, with 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.
Always on the run, John Blandy travelled to many countries, including his homeland, but always returned to Madeira where he finally passed away at the age of 72.
John Blandy's son Charles Ridpath Blandy, continued the business. During the disastrous oidium plague in 1852 it was he 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 fine Madeira. Charles also bought “The Blandy Wine Lodges” in Funchal – also known as Adegas de São Francisco – in 1840.
Many others followed since, always with one objective in mind: to leave the company for the future generations in a stronger condition than the one they have received it.
Blandy's Madeira is a family owned business with over 200 years of experience in producing the finest quality Madeira wines, and prevails totally dedicated to the preservation of the Madeira wine production traditions whilst maintaining the highest quality standards.
Founded by John Blandy – the family Madeiran branch patriarch – in 1811, Blandy’s Madeira is a family-owned wine company, For 200 years, Blandy’s Madeira has been synonymous with quality Madeira wine.
In 1925 Blandy's decided to join the Madeira Wine Association; a group of wine companies formed together 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, this association managed to survive the bleak years whilst many individual companies fell by the wayside.
In 1989 in order to further expand the global market, the Blandy's approached another Anglo-Portuguese family, the Symingtons of Oporto (Port producers since the 19th century) and offered them a partnership in the newly named Madeira Wine Company (MWC). This partnership continues today.
In 2000 the Blandy’s Madeira Wine Company led the way with the introduction of a high quality but affordable Madeira of a single year (known as "Colheita" in Portuguese); "Blandy's Malmsey 1994 Harvest".
This was the first dated Madeira ever launched other than the very expensive and rare Vintage Madeiras. Wine merchants and consumers in many countries welcomed this fresh new thinking for quality Madeiras. Since then many other Madeira producers have again followed the MWC lead by introducing younger dated wines, thus creating an important new category of premium Madeira.
In July 2002, Blandy’s Madeira again launched a completely new style of Madeira with a radical presentation, "Blandy's Alvada". The wine is different to anything that has been produced before as it combines 2 noble grape varieties, Malmsey and Bual to arrive at a superbly balanced wine that combines the rich flavours of the Malmsey with the more complex and drier structure of the Bual. Once again Blandy’s MWC has challenged the accepted wisdom.
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.
Today, the company continues to lead the way in the re-establishment of Madeira as one of the world's great wines.