Churchill's | Douro Valley
Founded in 1981 by legendary winemaker Johnny Graham, Churchill’s has built a reputation for making award-winning Port and Douro wine in its founder’s unique and personal style. Johnny was born and raised in Porto as the youngest son of the Graham port family and after his father sold the family business in 1970, Johnny committed himself to learning the craft of port-making on his own.
From age 20, Johnny worked in the terraced vineyards of the Douro Valley, on the rabelo boats bringing barrels of young port down river, and in the cellars and tasting rooms of Vila Nova da Gaia. Apprenticing under the studied eye of port master John Smithe of Cockburn Smithe’s, Johnny quickly learned the art of winemaking and by his late 20s had developed a reputation as one of the trade’s best tasters.
Port was more than a trade to Johnny: it was his passion and art. He was not content to be a steward of a heritage style. He wanted to make his own mark on the 200-year-old Douro D.O.C. and bring a new style to port drinkers around the world. So, at just 29 years old he set out to do something crazy: found an official port shipper in the ancient entrepôt of Vila Nova de Gaia, which no one had done in over 50 years. In a partnership with his wife and two brothers, Churchill’s was born, producing its first vintage in 1982, more than a full year before officially qualifying as a registered port shipper. The company was named after Johnny’s wife, Caroline Churchill.
Johnny focuses on making wines for the future, blending products that will stand the test of time and using sustainable methods that ensure future generations will be able to carry on the family tradition in the Douro. Since its inception Churchill's has built an enviable reputation for producing Port Wines of the highest quality, reflected by their impressive performance at comparative tastings over this time.
In 1999 Churchill’s bought Quinta da Gricha, a 50 hectare Grade "A” Vineyard estate situated on the south bank of the River Douro between Pinhão and Tua, in the prestigious Cima Corgo sub-region of the demarcated Douro Port Wine region. All Churchill’s ports are produced at the Quinta da Gricha winery in the traditional granite "lagares” or treading tanks built in 1852. Since the acquisition of its own Quinta vineyards, Churchill’s has also been developing a table wine business which currently offers an excellent quality Douro DOC wine with a unique identity that distinguishes from others for its freshness and purity of fruit.