240 Years Later, Madeira Celebrates America’s Independence Again by Honoring US Madeira Wine Experts
Immediately after declaring their independence from Great Britain in July of 1776, the members of the Continental Congress toasted each other with glasses of Madeira. The fortified wine, produced on the Island of Madeira and a favorite of our forefathers, has since remained intertwined with our nation’s early history. To celebrate the 240th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, it returned to the US to honor Americans who have made significant contributions to the promotion and support of Madeira Wine, including Seattle-area Port and Madeira wine journalist, Roy Hersh.
On Tuesday, June 28, the Institute of Madeira Wine, Embroidery and Handicrafts (IVBAM) which regulates the Madeira trade, honored this special relationship with America by hosting “Madeira, Toast to America” at the Official Residence of the Portuguese Embassy in Washington, DC. The ceremony was hosted by Paula Cabaço the President of the IVBAM; the President of the Regional Government of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque; the Chancellor of the Confraria do Vinho da Madeira, Faro da Silva and the Ambassador of Portugal, Domingos Fezas Vital. It was headlined by an Enthronement Ceremony by the Confraria do Vinho da Madeira (Madeira Wine Brotherhood) and attended by 400 invitees.
One of the Honorees at the event was. Mr. Hersh, donned in customary Madeira Confraria attire – a wine-colored cape, a black velvet hat with ostrich feathers, and tastevin (“tambuladeira”) a traditional wine tasting cup hanging from a ribbon. Mr. Hersh spoke his oath to continue to support the reputation of Madeira wine, and signed his name in the traditional book containing the names of the Confraria members. Mr. Hersh becomes the first American outside of the wine trade to be enthroned into both the Madeira Wine Brotherhood and the Port Wine Brotherhood, which he was inducted into in Portugal in 2003.
Mr. Hersh, founder of the Port and Madeira wine website For The Love Of Port (www.fortheloveofport.com), is an accomplished Wine Judge, Wine Journalist, and Ambassador for Port and Madeira. He travels extensively across North America to provide seminars specializing in Port and Madeira wines, and encourages oeno-tourism by guiding renowned wine tours throughout Portugal and Madeira each year.
Mannie Berk, Founder of California-based The Rare Wine Company and member of the Madeira Confraria, said of Mr. Hersh, “No American writer has done more over the past two decades to advance Madeira's renaissance in the United States. His induction into the Madeira Confraria both recognizes his contributions and is an honor he has long deserved.”
“As a wine writer, collector and Madeira Wine lover, Roy has definitely been very important in the promotion of Madeira Wine,” said Paula Cabaço, President of the IVBAM, which sponsors the Madeira Confraria. “His passion for Madeira and its wines has been amazing for the past 15 years, providing wine enthusiasts the possibility of visiting Madeira and organizing oeno-tourism trips to the Island of Madeira.”
Ricardo Diogo Freitas, Managing Director of Madeira producer Vinhos Barbeito, added that, “Roy is one of the Americans that contributes almost on a daily basis to make Madeira wine more broadly known in the US. He has been an ambassador of Madeira wine in the US for many years and it was important to recognize his efforts by making him a member of the Confraria, whose main goal is to promote and support our wines. I was very honored when he accepted the invitation to be our "brother".
For his part, Mr. Hersh said, “This is truly an honor to be recognized and inducted into the Madeira wine Confraria. Madeira has been a passion for me, whether it has been co-hosting historic tastings of centuries-old Madeiras, leading small group tours to the Island of Madeira to taste the amazing wines produced there, or writing articles on Madeira for wine magazines or our For The Love Of Port website.”