The island of Madeira has been producing and exporting its namesake wine virtually since the Portuguese discovered it in 1419. Since then, Madeira’s location in the middle of important trade routes meant the success of its wines mirrored the worldwide geopolitical situation. The fortified wine’s fortunes have soared during times of peace, prosperity, and free trade and plummeted during conflict and international upheaval.
Cossart Gordon & Co
Cossart Gordon & Co. was established in 1745 and is the oldest company in the Madeira Wine trade. Francis Newton, a young Scot, sailed from Gravesend in Britain and arrived in Madeira on September 12th 1745 founding the company. He was joined by his younger brother Thomas from 1758 to 1763 and then by another Scot, Thomas Gordon of Balmaghie also in 1758. Thomas Murdoch joined the firm in 1791 that came to be called Newton, Gordon, Murcoch & Co. By 1850 the firm was said to be shipping "half the growth of the Island" and Newton's contacts in America through his brother Andrew (who left Scotland for Virginia) were proving to be highly successful and the company acquired an unequalled reputation as suppliers of fine Madeiras.