Vintage Port


The English had a custom of buying and cellaring Vintage Port at the birth of their children. Later it was presented as a ‘surprise’ twenty-first birthday gift. Of course fathers were terribly disappointed if they were not invited to share in the wine – which was really the whole point of the exercise. A steep rise in the price of Vintage Port and the break-up of the traditional family network has put a damper on the custom. However, if you’d like to pick up the slack, or simply want to treat yourself, the LCBO will be offering Vintage Ports (mail order) as of November 1st. The wines are from the highly touted 2011 vintage and you’ll take delivery next spring.

Port is a fortified (the addition of neutral brandy) wine from the Douro river region in the North of Portugal. The grapes get super ripe due to the boiling hot summers so the flavours are very concentrated. Vintage Port comes from the best sites and is only produced in the best years. Without a doubt it is one of the great wine experiences – usually drunk to mark a moment. The downside is it take 10 – 20 years, to reach maturation, and it’s expensive. But of all the premium priced drinks on the market I think it offers the best value. The fact that the purchaser has to cellar/age it establishes a special relationship with the wine. It can become your prized possession, and an experience that’s much more than just the wine. Needless to say you need something resembling a cool cellar to age your stash.

The following is a list of wines available from my favourite producers. Taylor Fladgate is considered the big daddy in Port and always charge extra. Naturally it fetches the highest price at auction – should you need to unload your bottles. Their wine is available in magnum and double magnum sizes which would be exciting bottles to mark a family or business moment. For a complete list and ordering information visit


DOW’S $90







JUST THIS IN!  The recent trip to LISBON was fantastic! Tons of fun with a great group. Next year’s dates will be announced SOON!

“Our trip to Lisbon with Billy and Kato exceeded all of our expectations!  The well-planned  itinerary included many surprises and was the perfect balance between organized activities and free time. Many of the sites, activities and excursions were ones that we would never have discovered or experienced on our own.  The meals and wine were wonderful!. We loved every minute of the trip and couldn’t have asked for more! Thank you so much for a wonderful week in such a beautiful city.”

Barbara Smith, Executive Director/Directrice général, National Youth Orchestra of Canada/Orchestre national des jeunes du Canada

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  • Hi Billy, the fortifying spirit used in today’s Vintage Port is far superior to what was used in the past, resulting in Vintage Port that is drinkable at a much younger age, while still maintaining the long term ageing potential.

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