At the beginning of the last century, Madeira was known for the brandy island. Excessive consumption of this drink becomes a social problem. In 1927, 34 sugarcane plantations were closed, production decreased and their commercialization was controlled. Alternatively, the people clandestinely began to produce their own brandy from the dregs of wine, an activity severely punished by the authorities. From the North to the South of the Island, illicit transport began, covering 25 km with about 50 liters on their backs and, despite several arrests, the activity lasted roughly 50 years along tracks that became known as the route of smuggling.
What is intended?
Given the historical importance of the events that took place, within the scope of the Festival Aqui Acolá 2016 - Ponta do Sol, a work of investigation and data collection was started that allowed, from the outset, the schematization of a historical reproduction through a documentary. From the interviews carried out, it was possible to glimpse the risk and the courage of a people who, with 'art and ingenuity', managed to overcome the adversities that were imposed. In fact, there is not a single route, but several "Routes of Contraband" in order to deceive the authorities who, faced with such a feat, saw their mission made difficult.
In view of the above, it was decided to reproduce and experience, according to the data collected, some of the routes used to smuggle wine lees brandy. To this end, on March 11 and November 18, 2017, RETOIÇA - Cultural, Sports and Recreation Association, in partnership with the Municipality of Ponta do Sol and the Camping and Mountaineering Federation of Portugal, started a Cycle of Hiking dedicated exclusively to the Smuggling Route(s).