Established in 1814 on Madeira Island, and known originally as Rutherford and Grant, Miles Madeira is one of the oldest and most respected brands of Madeira wine world-wide.
In 1856 Henry Price Miles left Wales with his Mother as an infant and arrived on Madeira. Having worked as an apprentice since the age of 12 under the tutelage of James Rutherford, he acquired sound knowledge and experience of the workings of the Madeira trade. In 1872, the Rutherfords left for London (due to Phylloxera which decimated most of the vineyards in Madeira) and started up a wine importing business at the Old Trinity House in Waterlane. This prompted Miles to purchase the company and stocks. Latterly, Henry Price Miles made an gentleman's agreement with Rutherford stating that any Madeira sold by them in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, or Russia, would be bought through H. P. Miles and Co. This agreement was respected and carried out until the Rutherfords sold their firm: Rutherfords, Osborne and Perkins, to Martini Rossi in the 1960's.
Alongside the production of wine, H. P. Miles founded the first Madeiran Brewery in 1872 called the "Atlantic Brewery". It was through these two companies that Henry Price and his two sons, Henry Alfred and Charles Vaughan, created the Miles legacy on the Island.
After the end of The second World war, conditions in the wine trade became extremely difficult, and so Henry Alfred Miles' son, Cecil Miles, negotiated the entry of H. P. Miles and Co. into the Madeira Wine Association.
Miles Madeira is synonymous with excellent Madeira wine and has become one of the best known and most respected brands in the world.
The island of Madeira, of volcanic origin, was discovered in 1419 by the Portuguese Captain, João Gonçalves Zarco, and is an archipelago composed of two inhabited islands – Madeira and Porto Santo – and two small uninhabited islets, the Desertas and the Selvagens. Madeira’s location in the Atlantic made it an important strategic port of call which led to the rapid expansion of the island’s wine, especially in countries such as the United States of America. It was so popular in the USA that in the 18th century, Madeira wine is reported to have represented over 75% of all wine imported into this market.
The archipelago is situated at 32º 38’ latitude north and 16º 54’ longitude west, about 1100kms off the coast of Portugal, and 590 kms off the coast of Morocco. The total area of the island is 741 kms2, of which the vineyards occupy about 490 hectares.
The island relief is steep and a mountain range that climbs up to 1.862m (6.109Ft) in altitude above sea-level – the highest peak is Pico Ruivo – runs the length of the island, virtually dividing it in two, and causing 7 different micro-climates that have a determining effect on where the vineyards are planted.