Symington Family Estates
The Symington family is pleased to announce that the renovated Graham’s Port lodge was inaugurated by the President of Portugal on March 21st 2013. The British Ambassador to Portugal, the Portuguese Secretary of State for Tourism and the Mayor of Vila Nova de Gaia, were also present.
The Graham’s Lodge was built in 1890 and retains many original features, including the Baltic Pine roof beams and the thick granite walls which house 3,200 seasoned oak casks of Graham’s finest Ports, as well as tonels and giant vats and Vintage Port cellars where Graham’s legendary Vintage Ports slowly mature. The lodge continues to be a functional, working building.
Twenty years after it was first opened to the public, this historic building has been extensively refurbished and upgraded with the addition of new leisure facilities, which aim to provide visitors with a pleasurable and memorable experience.
The goal of this comprehensive renovation has been to showcase Port’s more than 300 years of history and with that in mind, a new, beautifully laid out museum displays 19th century wine shipment ledgers, a passport belonging to a Symington ancestor and signed by the Duke of Wellington, letters of thanks from Queen Elizabeth II and President Barack Obama and many other interesting artifacts. A prize exhibit is a Patek Philippe Royal Watch dating from 1887 which belonged to a Queen of Portugal and which was acquired by the great-grandfather of the current generation of Symingtons to give to his wife in 1910.
For those who wish to learn in greater depth about Graham’s fine Ports, the charming Vintage Room with its inviting atmosphere provides the discerning visitor with tutored tastings overseen by knowledgeable staff. Some of the finest Ports ever made can be sampled and enjoyed.
Additionally, to make the visit even more complete, and to appeal to the local population, the Symington family has opened — in association with the Basque company Sagardi — the new VINUM Restaurant and Wine Bar, fully integrated within the Graham’s 1890 Lodge. The menu offers the finest and freshest food from Northern Portugal and the adjoining cold and clean Atlantic Ocean. Dishes are based on traditional Portuguese recipes but with a cosmopolitan touch.
All dishes are designed to match the Symington family’s own Douro wines and Ports, as well as a range of other wines made by personal friends of the family in the Douro, other Portuguese wine regions and abroad.
A glass wall down one side of the Vinum restaurant is all that separates the visitor from 3,200 oak casks containing Graham’s most valuable Ports, many of which are available by the glass on the Vinum wine list. On the other side of the restaurant, the ‘Atrium’ (a conservatory) offers one of Europe’s finest views; that of the magnificent Douro river framed by the famous Dom Luis Bridge, the old quarter of Porto (UNESCO World Heritage) and the city’s 13th century cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace and the historic Serra do Pilar Monastery.
The city of Porto is currently enjoying a boom in weekend tourism, on a par with some of Europe’s most exciting destinations. The Symington family is confident that the Graham’s 1890 Lodge and the Vinum Restaurant will become one of the ‘must see’ places for those looking for a uniquely enjoyable experience when visiting Porto and Northern Portugal.
About Symington Family Estates: The Symingtons have been Port producers for five generations since 1882 but their involvement in Port dates back fourteen generations to 1652 through their great-grandmother Beatrice Leitão de Carvalhosa Atkinson. The family company is the leading quality Port producer with brands such as Graham’s, Cockburn’s, Dow’s and Warre’s as well as being the leading vineyard owner in the Douro valley with 965 hectares (2,385 acres) of vines at 26 Quintas. Many of the region’s finest Quintas belong to the family. For more information on Symington Family Estates, visit www.symington.com and discover more on http://malvedos.wordpress.com and www.facebook.com/grahams.port.wine