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Port family opens new visitor attraction in Douro

Published:  26 May, 2015

Port family Symingtons has opened a visitor center in the Douro, which it is aiming to become a destination for tourists to Portugal.

Port family Symingtons has opened a visitor centre in the Douro, which it is aiming to become a destination for tourists to Portugal.

The new tourist attraction was opened by Portugal's Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho on Saturday. It is based at the company's Quinto do Bomfim lagar winery, which is close to the station at Pinhão and the river marina.

The new winery has 6 lagares (automated treading machines) which are used to make wine from grapes from Quinta do Bomfim as well as from family's other vineyards in the Rio Torto and Pinhão valleys.

During harvest, visitors will be able to see how port is made at the winery, from a specially built viewing platform, and take part in tours of the Bomfirm vineyards. This includes tours of Bomfim Old Lodge, the warehouse that contains 14 seasoned oak vats where Dow's Vintage port has been matured since the late 19th century. It will also host private tastings and events in the schist-build warehouse, which includes manuscripts and photos illustrating the history of the family's involvement in the port trade a replica of the boats, the barco rabelo, used to transport port down the Douro valley.

The family company is one of the leading quality Port producer, with brands such as Graham's, Cockburn's, Dow's and Warre's. It is also the leading vineyard owner in the valley with 1006 hectares (2,486 acres) of vines at 27 quintas.

Speaking to Harpers in April, Paul Symington, chairman of Symington Family Estates, said port is set to overtake sherry in value sales in the off-trade in the next two years if current trends continue, but producers need to keep the momentum going, particularly as the region is one of the most expensive areas to grow grapes, difficult to harvest, and produces much smaller crops than comparable regions elsewhere.

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