Dominic Symington, fourth generation port producer, retires after 31 dynamic years engaging the world in port & the Douro.
Dominic Symington joined the family business, Symington Family Estates, in 1990 as Sales Director. Over the last three decades, he has helped to develop the company’s commercial strategy and significantly grow sales of the family’s wines around the world. No other member of the Symington family has travelled as widely nor conducted as many events and tastings in their career as Dominic. His incredible energy and determination have not only reinforced the family’s position in the traditional port markets, such as Portugal, the UK, and US, but contributed to establishing a strong presence in new markets such as Scandinavia, Germany, Russia, and Brazil, amongst others. Dominic’s natural charm and great sense of humour have meant that he has developed a great many lifelong relationships within the wine trade along the way.
Aside from sales, Dominic was responsible for key areas of the business. He managed the family’s portfolio of Vintage Ports, rereleasing mature and rare bottles from their cellars into the market. He ran one of the family’s most magnificent and iconic estates in the Douro, Quinta do Vesúvio – producing Vintage Ports and two red wines. When the Symington family acquired their first estate outside of the Douro Valley – Quinta da Fonte Souto in the Altentejo – Dominic led the project to renovate the old winery and deliver the first wines from the 2017 harvest. Dominic was also Chairman of Portfolio, the Symington-owned wine distributor in Portugal.
Born in Porto in 1956, Dominic attended primary school in Portugal and secondary school in the UK. He started his career in the wine trade by working for Saccone & Speed, the wines & spirts division of Courage Brewery, which was then the UK importer for the family’s Warre’s Port. While his first job was to accompany the delivery drivers in resupplying the London pubs and clubs, Dominic was also given the opportunity to taste some exceptional wines and begin his journey into the trade. After joining an independent wine distributor specialising in the London on-trade, he built a portfolio of clients by knocking on doors of hotels, bars, and restaurants. In 1985 he joined the Symington-owned UK distributor, Fells and helped develop the fine wine division. Following an invitation from his father Michael Symington and his uncles, Dominic returned to Porto and joined the family business in January 1990.
Dominic has been married to his wife Laura for 35 years. They have a son, Anthony, who has worked at Fells managing the family’s ports & wines in the UK since 2018. Their two daughters live in Porto, Harriet is a teacher in an international school, and Isabel is an interior designer.
“It has been a pleasure and an honour to work in our family business, alongside my father, uncles, brother and cousins. The Douro is one of the most extraordinary wine regions and I have loved introducing people from around the world to the wines that my family and I have been producing there for now five generations. While there have certainly been highs and lows over the last 30 years, port has entered an exciting new era with the emergence of a new generation of drinkers. I am particularly proud to see my son Anthony join the business alongside six of his cousins. It will be up to them to ensure we continue producing outstanding wines from this beautiful region and engage the next generation. I will continue to play my part, whilst enjoying my retirement and spending my time between Porto and the Douro.” – Dominic Symington.