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Paul Symington receives CMG at Windsor Castle

Published:  20 February, 2023

Paul Symington received the CMG (Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George) from His Majesty King Charles III at Windsor Castle on 14 February for services to UK/Portugal relations and to social and environmental sustainability in Portugal. The award was announced in Her Majesty the Queen’s last Birthday Honours list in the spring of 2022.

The Symingtons of Scottish, English and Portuguese descent have been port producers in northern Portugal since 1882, though their association with the Douro dates to 1652 through Paul Symington’s great-grandmother. 

Today, ten Symingtons work across its four port houses: Graham’s, Cockburn’s, Dow’s and Warre’s, as well as its Douro wine brands, Quinta do Vesuvio, Quinta do Ataíde, Altano and Prats & Symington (of Chryseia fame). In 2017, the company launched a new venture, Quinta da Fonte Souto, in the Alto Alentejo.

The Order of St Michael and St George was originally awarded to those holding commands or high positions in the Mediterranean territories acquired in the Napoleonic Wars and was subsequently extended to holders of similar office or position in other territories of the British Empire.

It is at present awarded to men and women who hold high office or who render extraordinary or important non-military service to the United Kingdom in a foreign country, and can also be conferred for important or loyal service in relation to foreign and Commonwealth affairs.

Reflecting on the accolade, Paul Symington said: “It was an honour to meet the King, especially in the year of the 650th anniversary of the oldest unbroken alliance in the world, between Portugal and the United Kingdom. The history of Anglo-Portuguese families like mine, and of port, was significantly influenced by this and subsequent treaties which are still alive and relevant today. I am proud to receive this award that recognises my family’s generational dedication to the Douro, as well as the invaluable contribution of my colleagues with whom I have worked for many years.”

All Symington 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 has an ambitious sustainability plan, with a series of public 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.