Verdelho came to fame on Portugal's islands - Madeira and the Azores- as a base wine for fortified wines.
From there it made its way to Australia, where it makes rich, aromatic dry whites. On Madeira it has traditionally been responsible for the tangy, off-dry style of (fortified) Madeira wine. The base wines have high acidity, and can be aromatic. Before the vine-munching phylloxera bug reached Madeira in the late 19th century, Verdelho vines accounted for two-thirds of Madeira's vineyards. Nowadays very little remains, growing mosly on high ground along the north coast of the island. Bunches of tiny yellowish-green grapes are small and compact.