The Guest Books

Quinta dos Malvedos is most well known as the flagship quinta and the winery for the Graham’s ports, but it is also a family home, though we do use it as a base for entertaining trade as well as personal visitors.  The guest books are an incredible resource which reflect all these aspects:  a working vineyard and winery, family life, and a delight to all who visit.

Looking through a few of the books from the past 120 years turned up some amusing bits and pieces, we thought you might enjoy.

All the Symington family take an intense interest in the vineyard conditions, weather and state of the grapes year round, but especially during harvest, and continue the century-old tradition of noting all these things when they visit.  Paul and Jane Symington signed in September 2002, with both harvest conditions and family observations:

Wet and damp for the last few days, grapes still in good condition, but we need some dry sunny weather.  Robert working in the winery, the 5th generation of the Symington Family makes a start!

Paul got his wish for a spell of dry weather: about 8 days later Charles signed:

Weather holding on temperatures up to high 20’s, cut only the second lagar on Saturday, very good atmosphere with a great result, Baumé at 14 degrees with great colour.  Some rot with the Amarela however with the dry days of the past 5/6 days the Francesa (Franca) is looking quite good.

Rupert updated a few days later still:

Picking finished on the 3rd in fairly wet conditions – some rot but on the whole grapes quite sound.

Something about the property and Graham’s wines inspires many visitors to express themselves in verse.

Quando eu bebo o vinho
Sinto o ceú na boca
Uma musica que soa
Que o coração toca

When I drink the wine
I feel the sky in my mouth
A music which sounds
Which touches the heart

There once was a Port dude named Peter
Whom a Portuguese lass found much sweeter
Whether in a lagar
Or a Symington car…

Actually, the last line of that one is unrepeatable, as is the next recorded limerick.  The quinta, wines and wonderful Douro fresh air seem to inspire mischief and high spirits amongst our guests as well.

Looking back to some older guest books dating from around 1910, there were a few short verses the sentiments of which are certainly still true:

Like Mary is the climate
Of Douro I am told
For when its bad it’s awful
Though sometimes good as gold

When British beer tastes muddy
Under suns which never shine
We’ll think of the Douro quintas
And we’ll drink the Douro wine

Finally, a couple entries from Harvest 2009 that caught my eye:

First vintage of the blog – a fun experiment

A series of beautiful sunny days – temperatures up to 32° – grapes rather dry.  More details in the blog!!

3 thoughts on “The Guest Books”

  1. I think my favourite ever visitor’s book comment was the “Brave Dave” entry, also in the Malvedos book.

    1. Hi Godfrey! Yes, there are a lot of fabulous entries – the older books contain news of the revolutions, floods, and Paul tells me there’s even plague in there – I have a lot of reading still to do, and will doubtless feature more excerpts in future. Thanks for stopping by!

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