Taylor's Port Winery
Taylor's is one of the only independent family owned wineries in Port Country, and controls the Fladgate Partnership which also encompasses the other prestigious Port Wine Houses of Fonseca, Croft and Delaforce. Now well into its fourth century, Taylor's is one of the very oldest of the Port houses. Alone among the original British Port firms it has remained totally independent throughout its history. Family owned and managed since its foundation, Taylor's is run today by descendents of the Yeatman's and Fladgate's, both families have been partners in the firm since the 1830's. The family involvement continues today with Alistair Robertson and Huyshe Bower both Yeatman descendents. Alistair's daughter, Natasha, and her husband, Adrian Bridge, Taylor's Managing Director, represent the current generation.
Job Bearsley is considered to be the founding father of the firm. An Englishman, he was trading Salt Cod (bacalhau) in the north of Portugal in the 1670s. But the first record of Bearsley as a port shipper -and a partner in the firm which became Taylor's -dates from 1692. In 1727 Job Bearsley's son Peter became the first British trader to venture into the wild, mountainous country upriver in search of the best wine. In 1744 his brother; Bartholomew, became the first Englishman to purchase an estate in the Douro (Lugar das Lages) where Taylor's have made wine every year since 1744, apart from a short break when it was used as a field hospital for Wellington's troops. In 1816 Joseph Taylor became a partner. By 1826, ten years after he first joined the firm, Taylor was running under its sole name and steering it through adventures time. In 1836 John Fladgate, a London wine merchant, became also a partner and two years later a new partnership was arranged between Fladgate and Morgan Yeatman and in 1844 the firm became Taylor, Fladgate & Yeatman, the name it bears today.
Throughout history Taylor's has been a pioneer. In the 1920's it was Dick Yeatman who introduced the first varietal plantings at Quinta de Vargellas in the Douro Superior. In 1934 Dick Yeatman created the first Dry White Port wine, Taylor's Chip Dry, as an aperitif to refresh them after a long hot day working in the vineyards. Taylor's was the first to commercialize a Single Quinta (Estate) Vintage with their 1958 Quinta de Vargellas. Taylor's have also pioneered the commercial market for their Aged Tawny ports and were one of the first shippers to offer a 10 & 20 year old. In the late 1960's Alistair Robertson responded to the needs of the Port wine consumer to produce Late Bottled Vintage (or LBV) in 1970. At a time when the consumer was looking for a Vintage style port that was ready to drink and did not require decanting, LBV met all these criteria.
With a reduced population in the Douro region it is becoming increasingly more difficult for vineyards to find pickers and treaders for the harvest. Although the traditional method of treading the grapes in the lagar produces the finest Vintage ports, Taylor's has been developing mechanical methods to extend the benefits of foot treading to wines of all levels, since the early 1990's. In 1995 Taylor's began an extensive Research & Development program, at Quinta de Vargellas, with a team of winemakers, technicians and engineers. Using piston technology in specially designed temperature controlled vats and with proportions similar to those of the lagar, Taylor's have now built the most advanced winery in Portugal at Quinta da Nogueira. The 'Port-Toes', as they are known, are able to closely replicate foot treading and are producing high quality port wines
Winery Facts & Figures
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