Trade and Tourism

Grapes grown on Porto Santo not only make a passable local plonk, but are shipped across to the main island, where they are used for Madeira wine. The vines ripen spread out on hot volcanic sands near the beach, rather than raised on trellises, and are said to add a particularly flavoursome touch to the wine. There’s scant evidence any more of the sugarcane planted by the first settlers, and ruined windmills are all that’s left of a once-thriving wheat trade, which provided flour for ships calling in on the way to the Americas. Derelict lime kilns are testimony to a lime and cement industry that flourished last century. Today, agriculture and fishing tend to be aimed at local consumption, and Porto Santo’s economy is based firmly on tourism.

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