Port—by law—can only be blended, aged, and bottled at shippers’ warehouses, called “lodges” in Oporto.
For most of its history, Port was matured in the lodges by law—a system that effectively insured that the big Port shippers monopolized the trade and that small growers were excluded from creating their own brands. That changed in 1986, and today Port can be, and often is, aged, bottled, and shipped directly from the farm estate (called in Portuguese a quinta). Today there are more than 100,000 vineyard properties in Portugal’s Douro Valley, the region from which all Port comes. These are owned by the shippers themselves, as well as the region’s roughly forty thousand growers, each of whom owns, on average, no more than a scant acre of vines.