Planning to be in Portugal and the Douro Valley this September? Prep your feet for an immersive grape stomping experience at Churchill’s, the last remaining fully-independent British port house. Here, visitors are invited to literally step into the wine-making action and tread grapes as part of their annual Hands-on Harvest Experience, unrivaled in Portugal.
For 2023 the dates are September 9, 16, 23, and 30.
Tread & Sip Experience
All Churchill’s, ports are hand-picked, twice sorted, and crushed by foot in the ancient treading tanks at Quinta da Gricha. Foot-treading achieves a gentle grape and skin maceration without damaging the pip, thus extracting the necessary juice, colour, aromas, and flavours. Churchill’s is one of the few port houses to still pulp grapes all by foot at its flagship vineyard, Quinta da Gricha.
Churchill’s annual “Duoro Vindima” harvest experience is a memory-making moment for friends and families and takes place over the course of one day.
The 2023 Exquisite Harvest Experience included:
• Grape-picking with Churchill’s viticulture team
• Mid-morning snack in the ‘Caseiros’ kitchen
• Tasting of four wines: Bottle vs Barrel Aging, including two Vintage Ports and Age Indicated Tawnys
• Grape stomping experience in the ancient granite lagares
• Traditional lunch in the courtyard of the orange grove, accompanied by a wine pairing of four wines
• Harvest kit to take home, including a t-shirt and shorts from Churchill’s viticulture team
Price per person – 185,00€
15% discount included for groups of 6 or more people
Vineyard Visits & Stays
Even if you don’t want to get your feet grapey, you should still take a tour of this stunning Portuguese vineyard. Sign up for tours in a jeep, go on a self-guided walk among the vines, or indulge in a lunch at the orange grove with views over the river and valley. You can check out Churchill’s tawny cave, where ports age for as long as 40 years, or sip in the 1982 bar, set up in Churchill’s garden. The Churchill’s Lodge offers daily tours and tastings in English, Portuguese, French, and Spanish.
Don’t want to leave? We can’t blame you.Quinta da Gricha also has a vineyard house with four rooms to let that are air-conditioned and have private bathrooms. Accommodations include a continental breakfast.
Churchill’s barrels and the beautiful Douro Valley
A Family Affair
Churchill’s is a family-run port and Douro wine producer based in Vila Nova da Gaia and the Douro Valley. Johnny Graham founded Churchill’s in 1981 when he was just 29 years old, with his two brothers, Anthony and William, and his wife Caroline Churchill, who also gave the brand its name.
Graham learnt his trade in the Douro river’s terraced valleys and on “rabalo” port boats when he apprenticed to Cockburn Smithie’s. He also worked for “Taylor’s”. The Graham family has been involved with port making for two hundred years. The family business was sold to Symington Family Estates in 1970.
Churchill’s is a first generation business producing 50,000 handcrafted cases of port per year. Churchill’s is the only port house that is still founder-led.
Churchill’s portfolio of wines
Join the Club
Port Club members have access to personalized on-line masterclasses with Johnny, son James, and Portuguese winemaker and “fellow wine rogue” Ricardo Punto Nunes.
Aspiring connoisseurs can learn all about crusted ports and Portuguese cooking. Find recipes for cooking with 10 Year Old Tawny Port and Late Bottled Vintage and learn what pairs with with dry white port, and much more.
Members will also have access to exclusive VIP news and events as well as to Churchill’s luxurious 4-bedroom Vineyard House in the Douro Valley and to bespoke programmes at Churchill’s Lodge in Oporto.
Reserve your experience directly with the winery
Quinta da Gricha
Ervedosa do Douro 5130-108
São João da Pesqueira
BeSeeingYou In: The Douro Valley, Portugal
Good to Know: Portugal has over 250 native wine grape varieties with the Douro farming around 13 varieties
WOW! Factor: The Alto Douro is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest demarcated wine-growing regions in the world
Tip: Dotted along the slopes of the Douro River, many quintas, or country estates, welcome visitors for wine tastings
Author bio: Kevin Pilley