Churchill’s is a renowned winery located in the wine region of the Douro in Portugal. Established by Johnny Graham in 1981, the company serves as the last independent and existing British port house in the area. Born and educated in Porto, the youngest son of the Graham family committed himself to learn the craft and art of port-making after his father had to sell their business in 1970. Since he was 20, Johnny worked and toiled in Douro Valley’s terraced vineyards.
Later, he became the apprentice of the port master of Cockburn Smithe’s, John Smithe. During his apprenticeship, he learnt the art and various practices of winemaking. By the late years of his 20s, he acquired a reputation of being one of the best tasters in the trade or industry.
With the knowledge he gained, Johnny could have worked in any of the top wineries. However, he wished to focus on the port as it was more than just trade to him. He wanted to leave his mark in the history of port-making in the Douro and deliver a new style to the port drinkers worldwide.
To make his dream a reality, Johnny discovered a port shipper Vila Nova de Gaia. He did so when he was 29 years old. It was a significant feat as no one before him could make it possible. Then, he established Churchill’s in a partnership with his two brothers. He also used the support of his wife, Caroline Churchill. She was the one who named the winery.
Today, Johnny is still in charge of managing the winery and its operations. Under him, the vineyards of Churchill’s use and implement sustainable agricultural practices. The diverse range and varieties of wines that they produce bring out the expression of the Douro terroirs to a great extent.
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