The English wine merchant John Woodhouse came to Sicily in 1773. There, in the port city of Marsala, he became acquainted with the local liqueur wine, which reminded him of the dessert wines from Spain and Portugal, which were very popular in England at that time. He began exporting Sicilian wines to England, because the demand for port and sherry there exceeded the supply. The year of the "invention" of Marsala is considered to be 1773, when Woodhouse added eight litres of spirit (pure alcohol) to each of the four hundred litre barrels destined for Great Britain, because he wanted to increase the shelf life for the long sea voyages. He had previously worked on the production of port wine in Portugal. In 1796 Woodhouse opened the first Marsala House in Marsala, consisting of a warehouse and cellar. 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 producer of Marsala today.