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Paul Symington awarded CMG in the Queen’s Honours List

The Queen’s Birthday Honours List, published 2 June, awarded Paul Symington Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG) in recognition of his services to UK-Portuguese relations. 

Symington, a dual national of Britain and Portugal, was born just a few hundred metres from the Douro River where has made his name as a pioneer of environmental and social sustainability. In 1979 he joined his family’s wine and Port company, Symington Family Estates, becoming joint managing director in 1988.

Working with his cousins, he propelled Symington Family Estates towards becoming the leading vineyard owner in the Douro Valley: 2,233 hectares (1,076 hectares of which are prime vineyards) spread across 26 different estates. The four Port houses it oversees are: Graham’s, Cockburn’s, Dow’s and Warre’s. There are also several Douro wine brands in the portfolio. Graham’s holds a Royal Warrant, meaning that it is the Port served in Royal households.

All of the vineyards are sustainably managed under a minimum intervention certification. 130 hectares are farmed organically – the largest area of organic vineyard in northern Portugal.

The award also recognises Symington’s outspokenness on the socio-economic sustainability of winemaking in the region. One particular issue he has advocated for is reforming the regulatory system controlling grape prices.

For services to Port and the Douro, the President of Portugal granted him the Order of Merit in 2015. In relation to being awarded a CMG, Symington said: “I am proud to receive this award that recognises my family’s long dedication to the Douro.”

The Symingtons have been a fixture of winemaking in northern Portugal since 1882. Five generations on, the family recently announced releases from the historically small 2020 vintage.

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