How Port is Made

Click here to see a video on making Port wine.

Harvesting

Varietals and Harvesting

Port wine is primarily made from four core varietals indigenous to Portugal. At harvest time, all picking is done by hand and each varietal is picked according to its ideal ripeness with the fermentation of each varietal and vineyard block kept separate.

treading

Treading and Fermentation

As port fermentation is only 36-48 hours, there is only a short window to extract maximum color and flavor.

Foot-treading – The traditional technique, in granite «lagares». The human foot exerts the ideal pressure for extraction and body temperature is ideal for kickstarting fermentation.

Modern lagares – A variety of modern automated treading machines are used – enabling greater control over the process.

Fortification

Fortification

After a short fermentation process (36-48 hours), when the alcohol-by-volume reaches about 8%, the must is strained off into vats with high-proof neutral grape brandy at roughly one-part spirit to four parts must. This brandy halts the fermentation process by killing the yeast. The sweetness one tastes in a fortified wine is the natural grape sugar that has not been fully fermented into alcohol.

Racking

Racking

The wine is then racked off into barrels for aging and future blending.

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