SAN FRANCISCO, March 30, 2023 – Symington Family Estates, producers of some of the finest Ports in the world for five generations and owners of the renowned Port brand W & J Graham’s, is pleased to announce the release of Graham’s 1997 Single Harvest Tawny Port, “The Apprentice,” in the US market (SRP $165/750 ml). Representing Head Winemaker Charles Symington’s initial steps as a Port taster and blender when he learned the intricate art of tasting and blending from his father, the 1997 Single Harvest is one of the first Ports that Charles played a significant role in shaping during his taster’s apprenticeship.
Graham’s Single Harvest Tawny Ports (also known as colheitas) are limited release wines selected decades ago from Graham’s prime vineyards in the Douro, from the finest years. These special wines are set aside for long term ageing in seasoned oak casks. Single Harvest Tawny Ports are required by the Port Institute to age for a minimum of seven years; Graham’s releases their Single Harvest Tawnies following much longer periods, rarely less than 20 years and often much longer, dating back half a century or more.
This wine captures the beginning of a journey – from apprentice to cellar master. It celebrates the profound knowledge of the vineyards and the mastery of tasting, which are essential requisites for crafting Graham’s exceptional wood-aged Ports. At the time of the 1997 harvest, Graham’s current Head Winemaker, Charles Symington, was apprenticed to his father, Peter. While the year produced outstanding wines, which were bottled as Vintage Port, Peter chose some of the finest for extended wood-aging. Over 25 years later, Charles has selected the remaining casks for this limited bottling.
Graham’s is currently positioned as a top producer of Aged Tawny Port which is the fastest growing category within the Port sector, with an increase of 21 percent growth (in volume) over the last five years. Graham’s has seen an increase of 44 percent in growth of its Aged Tawny segment over this same time. (source: Premium Port Wines, US importer)
W & J Graham’s was founded in Porto in 1820. Renowned worldwide for producing outstanding Vintage Ports, Graham’s also produces a range of Aged Tawny Ports, Late Bottled Vintage, Reserve and Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Ports. Graham’s growing success in the 19th Century resulted in the acquisition of the famous Quinta dos Malvedos in the Alto Douro and in the construction of the imposing Graham’s 1890 Lodge. Overlooking the city of Porto, the Graham’s Lodge houses over 3,500 seasoned oak casks, numerous large oak vats, an extensive Vintage Port cellar and Vinum – one of Porto’s leading restaurants. Granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment from Her Majesty The Queen in 2017, Graham’s is owned by Symington Family Estates.
About Symington Family Estates
The Symingtons of Scottish, English and Portuguese descent have been Port producers in northern Portugal since 1882. For five generations they have combined their passion for producing fine wines and Ports with a deep commitment to the region’s land and people. Today, ten Symingtons work across their four Port houses: Graham’s, Cockburn’s, Dow’s and Warre’s, as well as their Douro wine brands – Quinta do Vesuvio, Quinta do Ataíde, Altano and Prats & Symington (of Chryseia fame). In 2017 they launched a new venture, Quinta da Fonte Souto, in the Alto Alentejo. Symington Family Estates is a leading premium Port producer and the leading vineyard owners in the Douro valley, with 26 Quintas covering 2,462 hectares and 1,114 ha of vineyard. All their vineyards are sustainably managed under a minimum intervention certification and 130 ha are organically farmed, the largest area of organic vineyard in northern Portugal. The family has invested significantly in viticulture R&D to adapt to climate change and have an ambitious sustainability plan, with a series of goals under the banner of Mission 2025. In 2019 the company became a certified B Corporation – the first wine company in Portugal to take this step – joining a global community of businesses audited for the highest standards of social and environmental responsibility, committed to using business as a force for good.