Clean and chiropodist-approved feet are strictly required for some holidays, especially for active and immersive oenological holidays in Portugal. For three days in September, Churchill’s offers tourists the opportunity to get under the skin of the local fruit and stomp grapes in the company’s traditional granite mills, which date back to 1852.
Churchill’s is one of the few port houses to still pulp grapes by foot. Quinta da Gricha, the company’s flagship vineyard, is inviting visitors for its annual harvest in September. The day begins with a grape-picking challenge with Churchill’s viticultural team, and a tasting follows the shift on the terraces. Afterward, there is a three-course lunch in the orange grove, with Churchill’s Douro wines and a vintage port served. The price is £185 per person, with additional transfer options from/to Porto.
Churchill’s was founded in 1981 by master port blender Johnny Graham with his two brothers, Anthony and William, and his wife, Caroline Churchill, who also gave the brand its name. Graham learned his trade in the Douro River’s terraced valleys when he apprenticed to Cockburn Smithie’s. Graham comments, “Port. Club’s mission is to share the fortified nectar of the Douro with the next generation of drinkers by making Churchill’s award-winning hand-crafted Ports easy to purchase, learn about, and make your own.”
Membership to Port Club includes quarterly three-bottle Port Packs and access to unique travel and port education experiences in Portugal and online. Johnny’s eldest daughter Zoe adds, “We know that Port can be a confusing category. Our mission is to make people feel why what they’re drinking is so good.”
The Port Packs introduce members to various port styles from Churchill’s award-winning portfolio. Churchill’s Fuse is a drier type of Port with minimal intervention in viticulture and winemaking. The Graham family has been involved with Port for two hundred years. The family business was sold to “Symington Family Estates” in 1970. “Churchill’s” is a first-generation business producing 50,000 hand-crafted cases a year. Churchill’s is the only porthouse that is still founder-led.
Aspiring connoisseurs can learn all about crusted ports and use Portuguese recipes for cooking with 10-year-old Tawny Ports. Port Club members can access personalized online masterclasses with Johnny, his son James, and Portuguese winemaker “fellow wine rogue” Ricardo Punto Nunes.
Port Packs come with one everyday Port, one special occasion Port and one unique Club Port selected and blended by Mr. Graham, exclusive to club members. Each Port is ready to drink immediately.