November was a very busy month for Graham’s, as work continues at the partially renovated 1890 Lodge, where the most complete Port visitors’ centre is taking shape in Vila Nova de Gaia. Sections of the refurbished building, including a new reception, museum and shop, were opened to the public on November 12th. It was with great pleasure that Ana Rodrigues and her team welcomed the very first visitors — Adalberto Andriolo Junior and Tatiana Pereira de Sousa from São Paulo in Brazil. As our first visitors, Adalberto and Tatiana were given a comprehensive tour of the museum, which charts the history of the Graham and Symington families, illustrating how they made Graham’s into the renowned company it is today.
Interestingly perhaps for Adalberto and Tatiana, in the 19th century Brazil was one of the leading markets for Port and records show that during the second half of the 1800s, it was the second biggest market, straight after Great Britain. For example, in 1867 total shipments of Port to “The Brazils” were 6,449 Pipes (or nearly 5 million bottles), growing to 9,612 pipes just two years later. Graham’s, which at that time was already one of the largest exporters of Port, is again working hard to build its presence in Brazil, where demand for fine Port is once again a reality.
We hope Adalberto and Tatiana will return to visit us again in the not too distant future. When they next visit, they will be able to enjoy the food and wine at the new VINUM restaurant in the 1890 Lodge, due to open during the first half of February, 2013. Besides the great food and wines, the VINUM will be blessed with one of the very best views over the twin cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.