Graham’s lodge is one of the landmarks of Vila Nova de Gaia and Porto. Since 1890 it has housed all our port wines as they age gracefully in the ideal climate produced by the Douro River and Atlantic Ocean, and more recently it has become the public face of Graham’s, the centre where we can meet our visitors and our visitors can learn more about Graham’s and our ports.
Whilst we serve 50,000 visitors a year – as many as 7,000 a month during the summer – it is our goal that every one of our guests enjoys a relaxed and personal tour. To that end, our visitor centre team receive an outstanding training experience to prepare them not just to conduct a tour, but to answer all your questions, and assist you in your choice of wines.
The five day training course begins with an introduction from Paul Symington about the history and values of Graham’s, and veteran staff then explain the logistics of all the services the Lodge offers: the tours, our wine shop, the shipping services, wine bar, and the proper service of port wines. But most important of all is their training about the wines and how they are made. Our sales and production managers tutor the trainees through a comprehensive tasting so they will understand from personal experience the qualities of every wine in our range, the differences between them, and how they should be served. This past spring their tasting included an 1882 Graham’s Vintage, a wine many leading wine critics have never had an opportunity to taste (and we are told it was still showing well). Finally, they spend two days in the Douro to visit Quinta dos Malvedos and other properties, so they can see for themselves the extraordinary landscape that makes Port what it is. Our viticulturalist teaches them about the annual cycle and management of the vinyards, and one of our winemakers conducts them through the winery and explains exactly how the harvest and vinification processes work.
When you arrive at the lodge, one of our team will greet you and arrange for a tour in your choice of language – we always have staff fluent in English, Portuguese, French, Spanish, German and Italian, and often other languages as well. Within a very short time, you will be led into the warehouse to start your tour. A 15-minute film introduces you to Graham’s and the Symington family, and includes footage of our quintas, the harvest, the cooperage and archival footage of a barco rabelo, the flat bottomed boat that brought the port downriver from the quintas to Gaia right up until the mid 1960’s. After the film, you will be guided through our working lodge, amongst the more than 3,500 casks and tonnels. Our lodge holds over 7 million litres of port, including pipes of tawnies that have been developing their unique characters for up to 60 years, and bottles of vintage ports that have been laid down to age, some since the mid 19th century. You will also learn more about the unique terrain of the Douro, our quintas, our wines and how they are made.
Finally, you will return to the tasting room to try some of our legendary ports, expertly served and introduced by your guide. With your tour you have a choice of several flights of 3 wines, featuring rubies, tawnies, or a cross section of our styles. For the connoisseur, our wine bar offers some very special alternatives either in flights or by the glass – consult the staff during your visit to learn our current offerings. Relax and enjoy your wines at leisure, and the stunning view up river of both the Porto and Gaia riverfronts and the Dom Luis I Bridge.
If you wish to purchase any of our wines, or other items from a range of wine service gifts, books or other merchandise, the staff in the shop can guide your selection and arrange shipping if need be.
And finally, don’t miss the Sala do Baptismo. If you can’t visit the lodge to learn what that is, check our blog again soon to learn more.