Madeira is a fortified wine made in the Atlantic’s Madeira Islands, an autonomous region of Portugal to the northwest of Africa. The islands’ winemaking tradition dates back to the Age of Exploration, when they were on the shipping routes for trade between the “New World”, the East Indies and Europe. To prevent spoilage during shipment, neutral grape spirits were added to the wine. After one voyage, some unsold wine made its way back to the islands, and the winemakers popped open a bottle and had a taste. They were so pleased with the unique flavor that the wine acquired after many hot months at sea, that when the shipping trade tapered off, they began to replicate the effect of the long voyages through a process known as estufagem. They heat the fortified wine with a serpentine coil through which they pipe approximately  115 °F water for no less than three months. The wine must then rest for at least 90 days, a period called estágio, before the winemaker finishes and bottles it. Because of this process, Madeira is a hardy wine that holds up well, even after it’s been opened.