Grape farmers

Each year we buy grapes from over 1,100 Douro grape farmers with vineyards ranging in size from 50 hectares to less than 2 hectares. This reflects quite how embedded our company is in the economy of the Douro region. Many of these growers have been selling their grapes to our family for decades. In some instances, multiple generations of one family have sold their grapes to multiple generations of Symingtons, with warm relationships passed down through the years, founded on trust and mutual respect. We have a full-time Farmer Liaison Manager whose job is to support grape farmers who supply us, ensuring their farming practices are aligned with our minimum intervention approach.

Douro Reform

Grape production in the Douro has been regulated by the benefício system for over a hundred years. As a result of the annual quotas agreed for Port grapes and overproduction in the region, grapes designated for Douro DOC wines are currently being sold below cost. This means that grape farmers are losing out and consumers are becoming accustomed to buying Douro wines at prices that do not reflect the real costs of production. We believe this situation is unsustainable and, left unaddressed, will negatively impact both farmers and the exciting Douro DOC business that has emerged in recent years. We have shared our concerns with the relevant authorities and have proposed a series of measures to rectify these imbalances.

Local Suppliers

We source goods, materials and services from hundreds of local businesses. We are proud to be an integral part of the local economy in both the Douro and Porto and we prioritise using local providers wherever possible. In the Douro, we are amongst the largest wine-producing customers of relevant goods and services, thus contributing to the local economy beyond the substantial sum we invest annually in the purchase of grapes from local farmers. The needs of our two bottling facilities in Vila Nova de Gaia, make us one of the most significant purchasers of wine-related dry goods and services of any wine producer in the greater Porto area.

University scholarships

Each year we provide two scholarships for students enrolling on either the Oenology or Agricultural Engineering degree courses at the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD) in Vila Real. The scholarships, covering all tuition fees for three years, are awarded to one student who lacks the financial resources to pay for the course and one student with proven academic excellence. Many of our employees have been trained at UTAD and we are committed to supporting the next generation of local oenologists and viticulturalists, whose work is so critical to the future of the Douro.

Douro ambulances

Over the last eleven years we have donated 11 ambulances to different voluntary Fire Brigades in towns and villages throughout the Douro region. The locations that have received ambulances are Pinhão, São João da Pesqueira, Provesende, Carrazeda de Ansiães, Lamego, Régua, Vila Nova de Foz-Côa, Tabuaço, Vila Flor, Sabrosa and Sanfins do Douro. The fire services provide a vital lifeline for local communities in the case of medical emergencies, as well as combating the dangerous forest fires that occur regularly in the Douro during the dry summer months.

Local charities

We support various local charities, including Bagos d'Ouro (supporting underprivileged children in the Douro region), Patronato Nossa Senhora da Conceição (kindergarten and day care in the Douro for children up to 6 years from lower income families), and Porto do Futuro (connecting businesses with schools in order to provide secondary school students with career insights).

Cultural donations

We support a variety of local cultural and artistic initiatives in the north of Portugal, including the Casa da Musica and the Serralves Foundation. We have made substantial contributions over the years to the Oporto British School, a not-for-profit community school. We cooperate with the Museu do Douro on the loan of archive material for exhibitions.

Portuguese Master of Wine

In recent years we have provided support for candidates who are attempting to become the first ever Portuguese Master of Wine (MW). We look forward to the day that Portugal has its own Master of Wine acting as an ambassador for our country’s wines.