Barão de Vilar is one of the oldest independent Madeira companies founded by Henrique Menezes Borges in 1877. The fourth generation of Henrique’s family are still running Barão de Vilar today. Most of the vines are based in the North part of the Island, and in Estreito de Câmara de Lobos which are areas of the Island most known for the quality and age of the vines.
The vines are trained on traditional trellises know as latada, that keep the vines well aired. This is to combat the high rainfall and tropical climate influences that can lead to mould. The Island has famous red volcanic soils which give great character to the wines. The main grape varitey used by Barão de Vilar in these 3 madeiras is Tinta Negra Mole which is a robust traditional variety.
The History of Barão de Vilar is in line with the history of all madeira production. The wines were made popular by visiting sailors using the island as a port to re fuel before long sea voyages to the New World or to the East Indies. The wineproducers on the island followed in Ports example and added small amounts of neutral spirit to the wines to make them more stable for their journeys. However some winemakers also tried their wines on the ships return, and concluded that the natural aging that had occurred on board in oak barrels had given new complex and desired flavours to the wines. So they began to store their own wines on trestles in special rooms known as estufas where the heat of the sun could warm the wines gently over time – re creating the process of a long sea journey. This process is known as Estufagem and is still performed today at Barão de Vilar.