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Vintage Port is the creation of the weather and of nature. We are at the mercy of the gods. We pick the grapes and tread them in our 'lagares' (treading tanks) that same night. Later we let the wines rest in wooden vats for no more than 18 months. We bottle them as they are: unfiltered, totally natural. And once they are in their time capsules, they slowly mature for many years. It is not unusual for one of our Vintage Ports to be in fantastic condition after 50 or more years in the bottle.
In 1815, the Scotsman Robert Cockburn and his brother John, already successful wine merchants in Leith near Edinburgh, set up a branch of their firm in Porto: R & J Cockburns. They had many business partners through the years. And like all of the early Port companies the name changed. Eventually coming to be known as Cockburns & Co: the name that survives today.The Cockburn family continued to run the company until well into the twentieth century. Other families though joined the extended family of Cockburns & Co during this time. The Wauchopes, the Smithes, the Teages and the Cobbs were amongst them. The Cockburns & Co family thus gradually swelled to include some of the finest winemakers and Port tasters that the trade has ever known.
We search our best mountain vineyards for the grapes to make our Vintage Port. We measure and weigh the bunches of grapes individually as we prepare for the harvest to ensure each one is perfect. The grapes for our Vintage Port come from our home at Quinta dos Canais a magical place, you have to see it as well as Quinta do Vale Coelho, just next door and a little further east, and Quinta do Cachão do Arnozelo.