Blandy’s opens up historic accommodation10th September, 2013 by Gabriel Savage
Blandy’s has become the latest producer to tap into wine tourism, unveiling a series of newly restored apartments in the Madeiran capital of Funchal.
Divided into four self-catering suites, The Wine Lodges are named after the island’s most famous grape varieties: Sercial, Verdelho, Bual and Malmsey.
They are located above the Blandy’s Wine Lodge, home to the first member of the Blandy family to take up residence on the island back in 1811, but now converted into a tasting room and visitor centre. This includes the Vintage Room, which offers the chance to taste Madeira from as far back as 1920.
While the wine link will be further emphasised by the complimentary bottle of Blandy’s Madeira offered on arrival, guests can also take part in dolphin and whale watching trips or “Lavada” walks along the island’s network of small canals, as well as using the central location to explore other sites in Funchal.
A number of other wine producers have already expanded into the tourism business as a means of boosting brand awareness, although these projects have met with varying degrees of success.
Among the most high profile to-date is The Yeatman, which was opened by The Fladgate Partnership in 2011 and now boasts Porto’s only Michelin starred restaurant.
Then there is Marques de Riscal’s striking Gehry-designed hotel in Rioja, whose operation has now been handed over to the Starwood group; and Quinta da Romaneira in the Douro, where the very different challenges of the hotel business have also led to separating its management from the winery.
Meanwhile The Drinks Business Awards 2013 recognised Hacienda Zorita, a Duero venture by United Wineries as winner of the award for Best Contribution to Wine & Spirits Tourism.