This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 12 May, 2011.
lipped-corner tablet-shaped label containing text “Fine Old Madeira Wine” within ruled border. Almost certainly from the same printhouse as the previous label (No. 6220). The tradition of printing showy but generic labels for alcoholic beverages (and other items of trade) continued well into the 20th Century until the private manufacture (or at least repackaging of stock purchased in bulk) by retailers and small middlemen became less common; the same practice is continued, however, in the various “house brands” offered by retailers today; but the packaging is now handled by the manufacturer. These alcohol labels would likely have been found on the cheaper beverages in “grocery stores” and saloons. Madeira is a fortified wine properly made only on the Portuguese islands of that name; its properties (and subsequently unique manufacturing processes) were discovered as a result of observing the beneficial results of high heat and oxidation on wine shipped on long ocean voyages. Although we are likely to think of Madeira as a cooking wine (and of poor quality at that) it was one of the most important beverages of the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries, particularly in the United States (which consumed about a quarter of total annual production).