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Smith Woodhouse

In 1784 Christopher Smith, a member of the British Parliament and Lord Mayor of London, founded a small company to ship port from the Douro Valley. His son Newman took over the business in the first part of the 19th century, and was joined by the Woodhouse brothers who were already well-established wine importers, and so Smith Woodhouse was established. By the end of the 19th century their ports had gained a good reputation and they built a strong clientele, but they fell upon hard times following WWII and were bought by W. & J. Graham. The Symington family acquired Graham's in 1970, and Smith Woodhouse is now a brand in the Symington family portfolio, with five members of the family presently engaged in the management. Smith Woodhouse are located in the Upper Douro and their fruit is sourced solely from the Rio Torto Valley, where the grapes typically ripen later than most other areas. This extended growing season results in ports with distinctive floral notes. The core of the grapes come from the 5 hectare Madalena vineyard, a little over half of which is cultivated with a field blend of old low-yielding vines which produces smooth and well-balanced ports with delicate fruit flavours and a remarkable depth of complexity. Smith Woodhouse are a traditional house who continue to produce the majority of their ports by the ancient method of foot-treading the grapes in stone lagares. They are not as well-known as some of their peers, and this niche, small production house therefore represents superb value.