In the introduction to this month’s newsletter, I made mention of having participated as a judge at the 2011 CNVE (Concurso Nacional de Vinhos Engarrafados) a wine competition in Santarem, Portugal not far from Lisboa. The results of this competition have recently been released. You can peruse the listing of Gold & Silver Medal winners here.



Symington Family Estates and the Blandy Group are pleased to advise that they have reached an agreement whereby Blandys will regain control of the Madeira Wine Company (MWC), producer of the renowned Blandy’s, Cossart Gordon, Leacock and Miles Madeiras, amongst other historic names. Symington Family Estates will maintain a minority shareholding in the MWC and the distribution of Blandy’s and other MWC brands will continue to be undertaken by the Symington’s associated companies of John E Fells in the UK, Premium Port Wines in the USA and Portfolio in Portugal.

Paul Symington, Chairman of Symington Family Estates said: ‘We originally acquired our shareholding in 1989 and there has been a fruitful and friendly partnership for over 20 years during which new methods of wine making were introduced, as well as several marketing initiatives that have helped transform the MWC. It is fitting that the Blandy’s bicentennial should be marked by their re-acquisition of a majority holding in their family’s historic island business. My family wishes to concentrate its efforts on re-building the Cockburn’s Port brand and in managing our vineyards in the Douro as well as other important projects that we have in hand. The close ties of friendship between our two families are stronger than ever and we wish Michael and Chris Blandy every best wishes in this new chapter of their family’s history.’

Michael Blandy, Chairman of Blandy’s said: ‘I am delighted that this agreement has been reached in this, our bi-centennial year in Madeira. In this way we re-affirm our commitment to Blandy’s Madeira Wine and the other brands of the Madeira Wine Company. Blandy’s Madeira is the leading quality brand of the island and one in which we have strong belief for the future. This investment demonstrates the Blandy Group´s continued strategic commitment to the economy and society of the Island of Madeira which will be complemented by continued expansion of our hotel investments both across Portugal and Internationally. The association with the Symington family has been friendly and constructive at all times and I am pleased that association will continue as we move ahead and we value their continued participation in the company.’

31 May 2011


Graham’s and Symington Family Estates are very pleased to announce the re-launch of The Vintage Port Site. As owners and makers of Graham’s as well as many more of the world’s most admired Port brands, and with a family history in the Port trade going back 14 generations, the Symington family possess a collection of source material and knowledge about Port which is unique in the trade.

According to Paul Symington, Chairman and Joint Managing Director, “With this site, we can now share the stories, the details and our passion for superb Vintage Ports with the novice and expert alike.” The heart of the site is our Knowledge Base. In this archive, users can now search for more information about every Vintage Port we have declared or bottled since 1945 and the harvest conditions in which the wines were made. The tasting notes, gathered together from in-house tastings as well as international wine critics over the lifetime of the wines, provide a unique opportunity to understand how Vintage Port ages and flavours mature over an extended period of time.

The Vintage Port Site will be much more than a static reference site, however. Cynthia Jenson, the Graham’s blogger who has also been responsible for the re-design of the Vintage Port Site, will continue to expand the Knowledge Base, both back in time, and in the range of tasting notes for each wine. Readers will also enjoy a steady stream of News articles from Cynthia about our brands, quintas, historical and technical subjects, as well as news of the latest releases.