The English wine merchant John Woodhouse followed in 1773 Sicily, There he got to know the local liqueur wine in the port city of Marsala, which reminded him of the dessert wines from Spain and Portugal, which were very popular in England at the time. He started exporting Sicilian wines to England because of the need there port wine and sherry the offer exceeded. As the year of the "invention" of Marsala applies in 1773, when Woodhouse added eight liters of pure alcohol to each of the four hundred liter barrels destined for Great Britain, because he wanted to increase the durability for the long sea voyages. He had previously worked in Portugal to produce port wine. In 1796, Woodhouse in Marsala opened the first Marsala house consisting of a warehouse and winery. His company was bought in 1833 by the Italian industrialist Vincenzo Florio senior (1799-1886) (his son Vincenzo Florio Junior became known as the founder of the Targio Florio sports car race). Florio is still a leading Marsala producer.