Graham’s was founded in Oporto, Portugal, in 1820 when the Scottish brothers William and John Graham formed W&J Graham & Co. in order to produce Port. The family expanded its holdings in the upper Douro Valley of Portugal throughout the 19th century. In 1970 the company was sold to the Symington family, who are also descended from Scottish businessmen and Port producers who have been shipping Port since the 17th century. Graham’s Ports typically win numerous awards. From 1993 to 2008 Graham’s Ports won 27 Gold Medals at the International Wine Challenge, a prestigious blind tasting held annually in London. The house makes a full complement of Ports, from Vintage to Aged Tawny, and Malvedos Vintage.
Portugal is best known for its two legendary fortified wines, Port and Madeira, but it also produces significant amounts of red and white table wine. In most years it ranks around the 10th or 11th largest wine producer in the world. In 2013, for instance, Portugal was the 11th largest producer just after Germany. Wine has always been produced in Portugal and in fact the country was the first to organize an appellation system, which it did in 1756, nearly 200 years before the French set up their appellations. The highest quality wines are labeled D.O.C. for Denominaçào de Origem Controlada. Many of the most innovative winemakers today, however, are avoiding the appellation system, which they deem too stifling for modern winemaking practices. The Douro Valley is the nation’s most important wine producing region, and it is the capital of Port production. The Portuguese island of Madeira, located 400 miles west of Morocco, is the nation’s other famous wine region, having produced Madeira for export for more than 400 years. Many red and white wine grapes grow in Portugal, though the best known is Touriga Nacional, the red grape used for Port and, increasingly, high quality table wines. Touriga Nacional produces dark, tannic, fruity wines.