Symington Family Estates has two important wineries in the Douro at Quinta do Sol near Régua and at Quinta do Bomfim near Pinhão. Their principal purpose is the vinification of grapes purchased at each vintage from over 1,200 farmers across the Douro Valley. These two wineries are responsible for the production of the mainstream Ports and Douro DOC wines.
In addition, the family have seven small specialist wineries at the family’s most important quintas. Each of these wineries has its own winemaking team whose task is to produce the best possible wines from the grapes of each vineyard.
The Symington’s specialist wineries are located at Quinta do Vesúvio, Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira, Quinta dos Malvedos, Quinta de Roriz, Quinta do Bomfim (lagar winery), Quinta da Cavadinha and Quinta do Sol (Douro DOC ‘Reserva Winery’). Each of these wineries produces no more than a few hundred barrels of Port and Douro DOC, making them some of the smallest and most specialised wineries in the Douro region.
The objective of these small wineries is to realise the full potential of the very best grapes received from the family’s estates, and to be able to vinify the grapes straight from the vineyards. The winemakers at these wineries do not have to be preoccupied with making any but the very finest wines and can concentrate on only the very best grapes. The international success and awards received for the family’s wines in recent years are in large part due to these specialist wineries and to the family vineyards.
The family’s long winemaking experience in the Douro has encouraged new vinification techniques that combine the lessons handed down through generations with innovations that have ensured the quality of the family’s Ports and Douro DOC. An example of this is the development by the family’s winemaking team led by Peter and Charles Symington of the modern treading lagares, the first prototype of which operated at the 1998 vintage. These new lagares are the modern equivalent of traditional foot treading which for centuries produced the finest Ports. These modern lagares now match the traditional lagares in all key aspects and have surpassed them in some.