Team strip

Last weekend was an amazing trip to Madeira with the shippers for Blandy’s and some wine trade colleagues. As so often happens on visits, sports tours and other escapades everyone got on well, the laughing and joking grew through the weekend and I think I can safely say a great time was had by all.

Cracking BBQ
Nice long ash

Two of us had to join the party late and that meant a three hour stop off in Porto Santo on the way, now I’d never even heard of this island and thanks to the fact we weren’t allowed to leave the plane I have little to report other than there is a golf course there (look left as you come in to land, it looks pretty good). So having finally landed in a very wet Madeira- apparently the 1st time in 20 years it has rained like this in the early part of the harvest – we dropped bags (Hotel Enotel Quinta do Sol) and met up with the rest of the gang for a BBQ at the Blandy’s Wine Lodge. Some great meat and a few beers later all was well with the world.
A Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure 2 – courtesy of our organised and fully committed tour leader – smoked very well. The next morning it was time for one of the two main reasons we were on the Island – The Madeira Open Golf @ Palheiro Golf Club. The other reason is to see and taste the amazing Madeiras – that appears in the next (more serious) post. The team were is decent enough form for the trip up to the course but seemed positively on fire once we had a fried breakfast and had been handed our two 20cl bottles of Blandy’s Alvada (to be consumed during the round). 

Pre-golf – that’s a breakfast

The format was stableford four ball better ball in teams of 2. There were also prizes for mens and women’s longest drive and nearest the pin (which amazingly I won but didn’t deserve to – don’t tell anyone that and yes I missed the birdie putt). We had the added detraction of playing snakes (three putts), camels (bunkers) and Monkeys (trees/scrubs), essentially you do not want to be left as the last player to do or visit any of these things as you’ll get left with the cumulative payout from the whole round. It made for a last hole in our four that will live long in the memory (to nightmares for those involved . The team, decked out in their Blandy’s shirts, did well, we wilted a little in the muggy heat but it was a great way to spend a few hours. The local brew – Coral beer – never tasted so good after the round.

After a dinner and prize giving – both of which got progressively more boisterous – we had a lovely few hours on the balcony over looking Funchal and talking an increasing amount of enjoyable nonsense.

Funchal – not the worst view of post golf drinks!

Amazingly sense seemed to kick in and later we had a mellow dinner (more good stories) back in Funchal over looking the sea before a relatively early night…nobody wanted to be on anything but great form for the tasting the following day. A few pictures below will give you a better ideas than my words above. Blog part two of the trip is in progress.

Chris Blandy leads the way

Captain Girling and his shorts!
Not sure my slight miss-hit deserved this!