Cockburn’s was founded in 1815 in Porto, by Robert Cockburn a soldier from a distinguished Scottish family who had served in Portugal during the Peninsular War under the Duke of Wellington. Later that century, three other families joined the company – the Smithes, Teages and Cobbs – who together with the Cockburn’s developed the house into one of the greatest names in Port.
Their craftsmanship, passion and dedication – aimed at increasing the quality of the Ports they produced – was passed from generation to generation until early in the 20th century Cockburn’s vintage wines became the most highly-valued of all the Ports.
In 1962, Cockburn’s was sold to Harvey’s of Bristol which eventually became part of a major international group. In 2010, after an interlude of 48 years, Cockburn’s returned to family ownership. Today, the company and its vineyards are owned and managed by the Symington family.
The winemaker Charles Symington describes himself as ‘extremely practical’; he has degrees in Chemistry, Food Science and studied for an MSC in oenology and viticulture in Rioja; he says, ‘making good wine is in the detail and I certainly will not settle for second best.’