Cockburn's was founded in 1815 in Oporto by Robert Cockburn, a Scottish wine merchant from a distinguished family in Edinburgh.In the 19th Century, three other families joined the company: The Smithes, the Teages and the Cobbs – and together with the Cockburns, they developed this house into one of the greatest names in Port. Their craftsmanship, passion and dedication to producing the best Ports was passed from generation to generation until Cockburn’s Vintage Ports became the most highly-valued Ports of all in the early 20th Century. In 1962 Cockburn’s was sold to Harvey’s of Bristol, which eventually become part of a major international group. In 2010, after an interlude of 48 years, Cockburn’s returned to family ownership.
Their craftmanship, passion and dedication to producing the best Ports was passed from generation to generation
When Symington Family Estates acquired Cockburn’s the first priority for the family was to restore the reputation that the company had once enjoyed for producing some of the world’s greatest Ports. In doing so their aim was to take Cockburn’s ‘back to its roots’ and to reintroduce attributes that had made Cockburn’s so popular in the past. Part of this process included the introduction of a new presentation for Cockburn’s Special Reserve - their flagship wine – based on the iconic classic design of the 1970s.
They also introduced radical changes in the vineyards and cellars which have resulted in a significant improvement in the quality of the wine. Since then, Cockburn’s Special Reserve has won more medals at the International Wine Challenge, Decanter World Wine Awards and the International Wine & Spirit Competition than any other Reserve Port.
Quinta dos Canais
Most of the grapes for Cockburn’s Ports come from its flagship property - Quinta dos Canais - one of the Douro’s greatest quintas. This 642 acre property is the essence of Cockburn’s vintage and other premium Ports, including Special Reserve. Touriga Nacional, the Douro’s finest grape variety, makes up almost onethird of the Canais vineyard, whilst the Douro’s average is no more than 3%. Cockburn’s can proudly claim to have played a leading role in the resurrection of the Touriga Nacional variety in the 1970s/1980s when it had been virtually abandoned on most Douro vineyards.
The Cockburn’s lodge has the largest collection of oak barrels and wooden vats of any Port cellar in the historical area of Vila Nova de Gaia. In June 2015, Cockburn’s opened its doors
to the public, allowing visitors to see a real working Port lodge with its own team of dedicated coopers. Cockburn’s is the last Port company which still has its own working cooperage, with a team of seven skilled coopers.