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Symington announces investment in new table wine winery

Symington has announced €5m investment in new table wine winery in Douro

Symington has announced €5m investment in new table wine winery in Douro. The pre-eminent port producer will spend €4 to €5 million on a new winemaking facility at Quinta do Ataíde in the Douro.

The worldwide sales of Douro table wines has more than doubled, from 2 million to 4.4 million 9l cases over the past decade, the company said. Symington Family Estates accounts for around 4% of DOC Douro production, with labels ranging from entry level Altano to the high end Quinta do Ataíde and Quinta de Vesuvio wines.

Speaking at a Symington seminar on Douro table wines entitled ‘The Douro – 20 years on’ at Fell’s annual London tasting, the group’s head winemaker Charles Symington described the new winery as his pet project, saying it will be ready by the 2020 vintage. He said that table winemaking is very special and very specific, explaining why the company was separating its table winemaking out from its port production.

Paul said that there has been an amazing amount of change in the Douro in the past 30 years, moving forward, adapting, as the company has started to see the benefits of plantings in the eighties and nineties coming though, reminding the seminar that until then the vineyards were field blends and they had to learn about the varieties and vineyards. He added that he believed Douro table wines were at a turning point in establishing themselves as one of the world’s finest wines, while berating those that have been selling Douro too cheaply.

He said that the Douro is special. The average yields is 4,300 kilos per ha, the average incline of a vineyard is 30% and the cost of building a Douro vineyard is about four to five times higher than anywhere else. Paul added that around £9 is the starting point for Douro wines, and as a family it can’t make wines more cheaply. The Douro has been attempting to establish itself as a world class wine region and they, as a family, are very behind that.

Charles Symington added that the family continues to experiment with the many indigenous varieties beyond the classic port grapes that currently form the backbone of the first generation of Douro table wines, hinting that much was yet to come from a region that counts some 100 grapes in its DNA.