Unlike Sicily’s other visitors, the British arrived in 1773 not to conquer, but to make wine. Arriving in Marsala port as a result of a forced unscheduled landing, John Woodhouse was the first to spot the potential opportunities that the wine might represent in Britain but recognised the need to fortify the existing wine with more alcohol prior to transportation.
The initiative was a success and Woodhouse began mass production in 1796, subsequently followed by other Englishmen, including Benjamin Ingham and his nephew Joseph Whitaker, who together invested considerably in order to modernise production techniques and expand exports to other continents.
In 1832, Vincenzo Florio arrived on the scene, transforming the production of Marsala into a major industry. Marsala was the first wine in Sicily to be awarded recognition as a denomination of controlled origin (DOC)