The Blandys are unique in being the only family of all the original founders of the Madeira wine trade to still own and manage their own original wine company; nearly 2 centuries of fine wine production, 1811 - 2003.
The first Blandy to arrive on the island was John Blandy in 1807 at the age of 23. He was a quartermaster in General Beresford's army and was posted to Madeira to help defend the island from a possible attack by Napoleon. It was during this time that his interest in the Madeira wine trade grew, and after briefly returning to England in 1810 to marry Janet Burden, he finally settled on the island as a general trader in 1811.
It was during the following years that the Blandy family became established on Madeira, not only through the wine trade, but also as managers and agents of ships and their cargo using Funchal as a port of call. John Blandy is also reputed to have made the first butter on the island at his Quinta de Santo Antonio da Serra in 1850, which he subsequently marketed in the local grocer's shop in Funchal.
John Blandy's son Charles Ridpath Blandy, continued the business. During the disastrous oidium plague in 1852 it was he who had the foresight to buy up a great proportion of the stocks of old wine on the island, thus safeguarding his company's ability to continue selling fine Madeira.
The Blandy family has played a leading role in the development of Madeira wine throughout its long history and in the economic development of this remote Atlantic Island. The family continues today to live on Madeira, maintaining a tradition that goes back to 1811.
In 1925 Blandy's decided to join the Madeira Wine Association; a group of wine companies formed together to maximise global exposure and minimise overheads in a world where the export market was experiencing an all time low. Led by the Blandy family, this association managed to survive the bleak years whilst many individual companies fell by the wayside. In 1989 in order to further expand the global market, the Blandy's approached another Anglo-Portuguese family, the Symingtons of Oporto (Port producers since the 19th century) and offered them a partnership in the newly named Madeira Wine Company (MWC).