Warre’s, founded in 1670, was the first British Port company established in Portugal and therefore the pioneer of a great tradition; its history is synonymous with that of Port itself
William Warre, from the Oporto family of Port producers, fought with the Anglo-Portuguese army led by the Duke of Wellington, at nearly every major battle in the Peninsular war (1807-1814). These battles re-established Portugal’s independence. Warre’s Warrior Reserve Port is the first and oldest Port brand in the world, having been shipped continuously since 1750.
The Symington Family is descended from Andrew James Symington and Beatrice Atkinson who were married in Oporto in 1891. Andrew James arrived as a young man from Scotland in 1882 and was admitted to partnership in the firm of Warre & Co. in 1905.
Beatrice Atkinson was descended from John Atkinson who had lived in Oporto since 1814, and both her father and uncle were Port producers. On her mother’s side, Beatrice Atkinson was a direct descendent of the 17th century Port merchant, Walter Maynard, English Consul in Oporto in 1659. He is recorded in the official archives of the city of Oporto as shipping 39 Pipes of Port in 1652. This is the second oldest shipment of Port (by one year) ever made by a British merchant and pre-dates the foundation date of any British Port company.
Thus the Symington family’s ancestry in the Port trade spans a period of over 350 years, through 13 generations, from Walter Maynard to the present generation of Symingtons, who are owners and managers of Warre’s and the family’s other Port companies. With their roots long established in northern Portugal, the Symingtons have gained a wealth of experience as producers of Port and have shown the resilience to withstand the upheavals of history, from revolutions and world wars to difficult trading conditions which drove numerous families out of the Port business altogether. No other family involved in Port production today possesses such an unbroken lineage, stretching right back to the very beginnings of Port.
Currently six members of the Symington family (five from the 13th generation in the Port trade) are actively involved in Warre’s day to day management, with the dedication and long-term commitment that are unique to a family-run business. From the vineyards through the winemaking, ageing and blending, a member of the family is directly responsible for every bottle of Warre’s Port produced. The family’s commitment to its wines is stronger than ever after 350 years, an unparalleled tradition in the Port trade.