The Symington family sponsors several charities whose aim is to contribute to the well-being of Douro communities. Over the last few years, nine ambulances have been donated to the volunteer fire services of several Douro towns and villages, including Pinhão, São João da Pesqueira, Provesende, Carrazeda de Ansiães, Lamego, Régua, Vila Nova de Foz-Côa and Tabuaço. These ambulances provide emergency medical cover for their communities.
Symington Family Estates is a sponsor of the Bird of Prey Recovery Unit at the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (Vila Real) which cares for injured birds and returns them to the wild. The family’s cooperation with this specialist veterinary unit showed its first tangible results in 2012 when two magnificent Eurasian Eagle Owls were released back into their natural habitat at the family’s Quinta do Vesúvio in the Douro Superior. The pair, which had been rescued by the centre a year previously, had been nursed back to health by a team of vets who work at the centre.
Mindful of its responsibility in helping to safeguard the Douro wine country’s UNESCO World Heritage classification, the Symington family also invests substantially in the preservation of the traditional dry stone wall vineyard terraces in its properties. In 2013 and 2014, the stone terraces at Quinta dos Malvedos, amongst the most impressive of the entire valley, were restored. This involved a team of skilled Douro stonemasons rebuilding the west-facing stone terraces of the ‘Port Arthur’ vineyard. Approximately half of the rehabilitation of the dry stone walls was concluded during the winter of 2013/2014 allowing for the replanting of the vineyards they support. The restoration work on the remaining walls was finalised during February 2015 after which they too were replanted.