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Churchill Graham

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Despite the fact that there was no longer any family firm to apprentice himself to, Johnny Graham arrived in Oporto in 1973. He got a job as a trainee with Cockburn's and for the next 8 years worked closely with the ex partner John Smithes in the tasting room, on the production side and in vineyard management. In 1980 at the age of 28 he was made a director. A bright future lay ahead but he wanted to be his own boss. Johnny married in 1980. Caroline, his wife, is a Churchill. Together they formed Churchill Graham Lda and in 1981 he decided to leave Cockburn's to set up his own Port Wine Company. Despite offers of permanent jobs, he agreed to work as a consultant for Taylor's while starting his Company. In the meantime local Port farmers had learned that he wanted to set up on his own and were keen to help. In particular, Borges de Sousa who had excellent properties offered a deal. Clearly the wine could not be called Grahams the family business had been sold in 1970 to the Symingtons so what better name than his wife's maiden name Churchill. In the beginning, Churchill's rented a lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia from Taylor's but very soon bigger premises were required. With the Port trade in full expansion space was at a premium. Johnny bought three ruined lodges in Rua da Fonte Nova overlooking the river Douro. They have now been fully renovated. Churchill's has met with increasing success in the USA. With the projected growth in sales it became clear that the Company had to acquire some of is own vineyards to secure on going supply of quality Port. With the purchase of Quinta da Gricha and Quinta do Rio, both renowned Grade A vineyards in the premium Cima Corgo region of the Douro, Churchill's is now in control from grape to bottle.

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