I’ve not had a chance to get online since our visit to Madeira so apologies for the delay in responding.
The tour around Blandy’s Wine Lodge (this is not like the old Yates Wine Lodges, but rather the building in which the Madeira was originally aged and where some still is) was interesting, informative and enjoyable, if rather brief (around 45 mins including tasting). As our ship’s agent was tied in to Blandy in some way (I think almost the entire island is tied into the Blandy family is some way) we got the vintage tasting for free.
Sadly the tasting was not much use to me. I had recently recovered from a cold following which, as usual, my sinuses were playing up big time resulting in major headaches, a bearable problem, and virtually no sense of smell or taste; a bit of a handicap for a wine tasting. I had three different vintage Madeiras placed in front of me and I could not have told them apart. About all I could ‘taste’ was the alcohol!
However it is maybe worth noting that upon checking out half a dozen shops selling Madeira in Funchal and checking the prices of the same wines as TWS is selling none of them were any cheaper than TWS. So there would have been no advantage to me buying them and bringing home.