Sivut kuvina

Calculated cost of one pipe (110 gallons) Madeira wine, cheapest quality, including cooperage, freight charges, and commissions.

Cost of 23 almudes vinho limpo (fermented wine)

Cost of 12 gallons (wine) brandy, at 1,500 reis per gallon..




Loss from leakage, absorption, evaporation, and racking, 12 per cent. on 50,000 reis....


Cost of heating in estufa..


Labor and store rent

Interest for nine months, at 8 per cent. (on 62,500 reis) per annum








Export duty




Shipper's profit (including clerk hire, office rent, current expenses, &c.), 20 per cent.

78, 172

15, 634

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It cannot be considered that 20 per cent. is too high a rate for "shipper's profit," remembering that to this account must be reckoned office rent, remuneration for clerks, and for the skill and care that a shipper of properly treated wine must exercise. Indeed, I have been assured by a gentleman here of long experience in the wine trade that 25 per cent. would be a more correct percentage than 20 per cent.

On the whole, I think it must be confessed that the above figures and statements show that my estimate of $130 was as closely accurate as possible. Almost every shipper has some peculiarities in his treatment of wine which would make the cost vary slightly above or below the average calculation I have given. The above figures were submitted to the Commercial Association of Funchal, with an invitation to any wine merchant who considered them inaccurate to send me a correction thereof in writing. I can personally certify that the estimate was thus brought directly to the knowledge of several shippers of notoriously cheap wine. Not one of these gentlemen has ventured to send me any such correction.

Now, it is well known that a man is apt to be touchy in regard to his reputation in proportion as he has no reputation to lose. The shippers of cheap wine here are extremely touchy at the imputation that wine under my estimate must be adulterated; yet when a public offer is made them to correct this estimate and show how wine can be produced under this estimate unadulterated, nobody responds.

WINE HEATING.-A peculiarity in the treatment of Madeira wine is the process of heating in the estufa, a house wherein the atmosphere is raised to a high temperature by furnaces. After the wine has fermented it is racked and fined. It is then forwarded to the estufa. Some stores of this kind have been well described by Mr. Henry Vizetelly in his letters to the Pall Mall Gazette, viz., "They comprise a block of buildings of two stories, divided into four distinct compartments. In the first of these

common wines are subjected to a temperature of 1400 Fahr., derived from flues heated with anthracite coal, for the space of three months. In the next compartment wines of an intermediate quality are heated up to 130° for a period of four and a half months; while the third is set apart for superior wines, heated variously from 110° to 1200 for the term of six months. The fourth compartment, known as the "calor," possesses no flues, but derives its heat, varying from 90° to 100°, exclusively from the compartments adjacent, and here only high-priced wines are placed. The object of this heating of the wine is to destroy whatever germs of fermentation still remain in it, and to mature it the more rapidly, in order that it may be shipped in its second and third year without any further addition of spirit. The use of these estufas in Madeira dates from the commencement of the present century, and the great bulk of the wine undergoes this or a similar mode of treatment previously to its being shipped. These artificially heated estufas are only used by the larger shipping houses, who, however, heat wine in them for other shippers at a stated rate. Others accomplish the desired object by placing their wines in a kind of glass house, where they remain exposed to the full heat of the sun. In the daytime a temperature of from 120° to 130° is secured, which, however, becomes considerably lowered during the night, a circumstance which is regarded by many as detrimental to the development of the wine. In the country districts, where estufas in no form exist, the holders of wine place the butts out in the open air in favorable positions to secure the full influence of the sun's rays."

The practice prevalent for many years past of sending Madeira on a voyage to the East or West Indies and home again is simply a variation of this method of maturing the wine by subjecting it to a high degree of temperature, the heat which it encounters in these latitudes when shut up in the ship's hold being necessarily very great.

In the estufas I am now describing, which, if packed full, are capable of heating 1,600 pipes of wine at one time, the pipes are placed on end in stacks of four, with smaller casks on the top of them, a narrow gangway being left between the different stacks to admit of the passage of a man for the purpose of ascertaining that the casks do not leak, as when subjected to great heat they are naturally inclined to do. A hole about the sixth of an inch in diameter has been previously bored in the bung of each pipe to allow the hot vapor to escape, otherwise the pipe would burst. As it is, the casks not unfrequently leak, as we perceive by numerous dull patches in various parts of the floor, rendering it necessary for the different compartments of the estufa to be inspected once during the daytime and once during the night, in order that any mishap of this kind may be at once rectified.

Each compartment is provided with double folding-doors, and after it is filled with wine the inner doors are coated over with lime so as to close up any chance apertures. When it is necessary to enter the estufa, the outer doors only are opened, and a small trap in the inner door is pushed back to allow of the entrance of the man in charge, who passes between the various stacks of casks, tapping them one after the other to satisfy himself that no leakage is going on. On coming out of the estufa, after a stay of a full hour, he instantly wraps himself in a blanket, drinks a tumblerful of wine, and then shuts himself up in a closet, into which no cool air penetrates, provided for the purpose.


Referring to the above-quoted description of the heating process for Madeira wines, I may give it as the decided opinion of several experienced wine merchants whom I have consulted that subjecting any but common wines to a temperature of 140° Fahr. is a radical mistake. a fine wine a process of moderate heating, with repeated racking and fining extending over three years, is absolutely necessary. Without this process the flavor, aroma, and strength of Madeira wine are lacking. Fine wine is made only on the south side of the island of Madeira. A pipe of this properly treated could not cost less than $195. North

side wines are considered very inferior in quality, and are the only ones which should be submitted to the high-temperature treatment.

In my calculation above I have allowed for 12 gallons pure brandy, at 1,500 reis per gallon. I am sure pure brandy could not be procured here for less. But a very moderate drinker might, without injury to himself, drink in a day all the pure (i. e., wine distilled) brandy which has been put into Madeira wine for the last year. For pure brandy the substitution is almost universal of (1) German rectified spirit diluted, with water to 30° Cartier, costing about 1,150 reis per gallon; (2) sugarcane brandy; (3) brandy from lees of wine; (4) brandy from corn; the last three costing about 1,000 reis per gallon.

In spite of the most convincing medical testimony to the contrary, shippers who use these articles stoutly maintain them to be not hurtful to health. (See Consular Reports No. 25, page 51; report of Consul Gifford, of La Rochelle, upon the falsification of French brandy.)

Some wine which I recently tasted had been treated with some of these adulterating substitutes for brandy, and had also been subjected to a high temperature in the estufa. The liquid thus produced and shipped, at 90,000 reis per pipe, under the name of Madeira, resembled nothing so much as a highly-doctored and rankly alcoholic sherry. The first impression produced upon the palate was that of very weak sherry and water. A moment afterwards followed the unmistakably harsh and alcoholic taste of sugar-cane brandy or something equally vile. And this the shipper claimed was pure Madeira wine. Not the most brilliantly erroneous imagination could have imagined that this concoction had anything in common with those wines which once rendered Madeira vineyards so famous in Europe.

It cannot be repeated too often that, given a fairly good quality and proper treatment to start with, nothing but age can bring Madeira to that perfection which it must show if it is to retain its former reputation. I consider that incalculable harm has been done to the credit of Madeira by shipping inferior wine, hastily treated, with but a year or two of age. Consumers are naturally as much delighted to get Madeira at 48. or 5s. a gallon as they are disgusted, when they have tasted their wine, to find what stuff they have bought. Hence arises a distrust of all Madeira wine. The really fine, good, and therefore expensive, wine is allowed to accumulate on the shipper's hands, until now it is estimated that in this little island the stock of wine is not less than 3,300,000 gallons. For that large portion of this stock which is really old and good there is no sale, except at figures so ruinous that merchants prefer to hold on in the faint and desperate hope that the public taste for good Madeira will revive. But I fear it never will. The "cheap and nasty" has done the business. A few men have made profits, while Madeira credit has been so damaged abroad that I have repeatedly been asked by gentlemen residing in Europe and America, good judges of European wines, "Is there any good wine in the island of Madeira to-day?"

There is a peculiar "trick of the trade" employed in Madeira which it may be worth while to notice. Having had my suspicions directed to some wine shipped here at the low figure of 90,000 reis per pipe, and sworn to in the consular invoice at that figure, I inquired at the Funchal custom-house what value had there been declared in the export returns for this wine. I was not a little surprised to find this 90,000-reis wine there declared at 250,000 reis. The shippers declared they had no intention to deceive. The value sworn to in their consular invoice they said was the correct one; their custom-house valuation referred to the average price of their shipment through the year. They further asserted that

they declared all their wines, high, low, and medium, at 250,000 reis to save their clerks endless trouble. I tried to make clear to these gentlemen, that two wrongs cannot possibly make one right. It is undoubtedly true that if a pipe of $90 wine be declared at $250, and a pipe of $410 wine also at $250, the aggregate price of the two pipes will be $500. But there remains the fact that one-half of $500, or $250, was the real value of neither of the pipes.

Supposing one of these pipes to go to England and the other to America, there have been declared (1) a $410 pipe for England to be worth $250, and (2) a $90 pipe for America also to be worth $250. This is falsifying the export returns, to say the least.

The total export of Madeira wine for the year 1882, as given by the somewhat inaccurate custom-house returns, was 1,655,709 liters, valued at $925,822.22. Of this 38,148 liters, valued at $20,375.37, went to the United States.


Embroidery. Upon this subject I have already written fully in a report published in No. 27 of the Consular Reports, page 100. For the year 1882 the value of embroidery exported was $17,004.18. Owing to the careless way in which export values have heretofore been assessed at the custom-house, it is impossible to say whether the increase shown by these figures is real or only apparent.

The remaining exports consist of hides, skins, onions, potatoes, fruit, and willow-work, exported in small quantities to Great Britain, Portugal, and Spain.

Duties on exports.—I have already mentioned the principal of these in former reports. They are: On wine, about $5 per pipe; on embroidery, 1 per cent. ad valorem.


The value of (dutiable, i. e., nearly all) imports for the past year was $816,997.10.

Cotton, woolen, and linen goods, which come almost exclusively from Great Britain, France, and Portugal, form more than half the imports. There is but little chance of American manufacturers being able to compete with English in this market, for the following reasons:

(1.) It is nearly twice as far to New York as it is to Liverpool.

2. The Portuguese are an extremely conservative people. Having long been in the custom of getting their cottons and woolens from England, to induce them to get them anywhere else would required long and patient effort.

3. It is the custom of the trade to sell goods on three or six months' credit.

American manufacturers demand cash on delivery. So long as they continue to do so, they have no more chance of securing a portion of the Madeira trade than the American merchant marine has of recovering from its present moribund condition under our existing laws.

The leading importing houses have been more than once approached, by the present vice-consul and former consuls, on the subject of American manufactures, but always with little success. The only article of this class which has had a fair sale is the Singer sewing machine. American "notions" are not in demand, owing to the extreme poverty of the people, which debars them from all but the merest necessities of life.

Of duties upon imports, I shall treat under the general head of tariff. Exports.-The wine exported to the United States amounted to 38,148 liters, value $20,375.37. Other exports were: Embroideries, $309.32; sundries, $160; total, $20,844.69.

The following table shows the export of Madeira wine to the United States for the last five years:

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Imports.-Direct imports, 1882, from the United States (including those via the Azores) consisted of the following articles:

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I am quite unable to give any figures for indirect imports. There is no doubt some American goods come here via Liverpool and Lisbon, but the custom-house keeps no record of their place of production. For the above figures I am indebted to the courtesy of merchants.

Supposing enough American goods to be imported indirectly to make our total export to these islands about $100,000, it will be seen that of the import Madeira trade the United States possesses 121 per cent., while of the export trade they have only per cent.


Now that Mexico has made some advance towards a more liberal tariff policy, I think Portugal may claim the distinction of having the very worst tariff of any country north of the equator. She does her best to discourage the principal industry of the country-wine-growingby levying an export duty of about $5 per pipe. The wine industry is further discouraged by the following heavy import duties on the iron and staves which enter into the construction of wine-casks.

Iron hoops.-Value, 453,000 reis ($489.24); weight, 13,004 kilograms.

1. Original duty, 2 per cent. ad valorem

2. 3 per cent. on orignal duty..

3. Additional 2 per cent. ad valorem.

4. 6 per cent. additional on items 1 and 3

Municipal tax, 2 reis per kilogram...

Stamps and examiner's fee


In United States gold, $49.43, or about 10 per cent. ad valorem.

Reis 9,060


9,060 1,087

19, 479 26,008

45, 487 290


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