Brothers William and John Graham established their firm in Porto, originally to trade in textiles. The Graham family already had extensive business interests overseas, both in their native Scotland and in India, and were considered by one contemporary historian to be “among the merchant princes of Great Britain”. In 1820 they accepted twenty-seven barrels of Port as payment for a debt, and the brothers decided then to devote their energies to making the best Port wines from the Douro Valley - and so the Graham’s Port house was born. Graham’s has always been a pioneer, in 1890 they were one of the first Port companies to invest in its own vineyards in Portugal’s Douro Valley.
For nearly two hundred years its Ports have been made by just two families, the founder Graham's, and the Symingtons. A Symington ancestor used to work for Graham’s, and nearly a hundred years after Andrew James Symington left to set up on his own as a Port producer the family’s relationship with Graham’s came full circle – Symingtons have owned Graham's since 1970. Besides the family’s other Port marques, Graham’s is now the only
remaining British Port company independently owned by a single family. Today, five Symington cousins share responsibility for every aspect of the company and personally make the Graham’s wines. They too have been involved with Port and the Douro for many generations, with ancestry dating back to the mid-17th century. The Graham’s lodge currently houses over 2,000 550 litre Pipes, and 40 giant 14,000 litre Tonels and vertical wooden vats known as Balseiros (large oak vats) of ageing Port wine, as well as extensive cellars of Vintage Port, ageing in bottle. They rely on the choice of the best grapes, primarily soured from 5 Quintas in the Upper Douro Valley; Quinta dos Malvedos, Quinta do Tua, Quinta das Lages, and two two others – Quinta da Vila Velha and Quinta do Valle de Malhadas, which are privately owned by a member of the Symington family. Graham’s is the only Port company that still employs its own team of coopers, 7 of them in all. They continue to make some Ports in the traditional way by foot treading in ancient stone lagares, but they have also pioneered a groundbreaking technique where robotic lagares mechanically “tread” the grapes. The Graham's name is synonymous with vintage Ports, but their entire portfolio exudes quality, and are all utterly delicious!