A range of conservation initiatives are focused on reinforcing a 120,000-hectare wildlife corridor between the Malcata mountain range and the Douro Valley.
As part of their ongoing commitment to supporting social and environmental causes that help contribute to a positive future for the Douro region, the Symington family have agreed a long-term collaboration with Rewilding Portugal. Rewilding Portugal is a not-for-profit organisation implementing a bold conservation strategy to improve biodiversity and support the regeneration of nature in the Greater Côa valley, including the recovery of habitat and prey for keystone species such as wolves, the Iberian lynx, deer, and various birds of prey.
The partnership has three focus areas: 1) supporting Rewilding Portugal’s activity to support the development of businesses and social enterprises whose activity supports the conservation of the natural environment, 2) implementing rewilding practices on Symington estates, and 3) providing Symington employees with opportunities to volunteer with Rewilding Portugal.
Financial support for Rewilding Portugal will be provided by the newly launched Symington Impact Fund, which was launched in January 2020 with an initial pledge of €1 million euros to provide long-term funding for organisations and causes that are working on positive solutions to social and environmental issues in the Douro, Porto and Alentejo regions.
“Rewilding Portugal are natural partners for us – they are committed to regenerating nature on degraded or abandoned land in the north of Portugal and their model involves boosting the local economy by developing nature-based enterprises that work to protect the conservation efforts. We are deeply concerned by the overlapping environmental challenges that the world faces today, and we are committed to doing what we can to support healthy ecosystems and contribute to a positive future for the communities where we work.”
– Johnny Symington, Chairman, Symington Family Estates
Rewilding is large-scale conservation aimed at restoring and protecting natural processes and core wilderness areas, providing connectivity between such areas, and protecting apex predators and keystone species.
Rewilding Portugal is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to nature conservation through rewilding measures in Western Iberia. The team’s focus is the Greater Côa Valley – an area running from the Douro River to the Serra da Malcata, an important wildlife corridor for many species. Rewilding Portugal is a partner of Rewilding Europe, an NGO working across 17 European countries, based in the Netherlands. Rewilding Portugal is funded by the European Union via the LIFE Programme (the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action) and the Endangered Landscapes Programme (a Cambridge University initiative supported by Arcadia Foundation).
ABOUT SYMINGTON FAMILY ESTATES
The Symingtons of Scottish, English and Portuguese descent have been Port producers in northern Portugal since 1882. For 5 generations they have combined their passion for producing fine wines and Ports with a deep commitment to the region’s land and people. Today, ten Symingtons work across their four Port houses: Graham’s, Cockburn’s, Dow’s and Warre’s, as well as their Douro wine brands – Quinta do Vesuvio, Quinta do Ataíde, Altano and Prats & Symington (producers of Chryseia and Post Scriptum). In 2017 they launched a new venture, Quinta da Fonte Souto, in the Alto Alentejo.
The Symington family are the leading vineyard owners in the Douro valley, with 26 Quintas covering 2,462 hectares and 1,114 ha of vineyard. All their vineyards are sustainably managed under a minimum intervention certification and 130 ha are organically farmed, the largest area of organic vineyard in northern Portugal. The family have invested significantly in viticulture R&D to adapt to climate change and have an ambitious sustainability plan, with a series of goals under the banner of Mission 2025. In 2019 the company became a certified B Corporation – the first wine company in Portugal to take this step – joining a global community of businesses audited for the highest standards of social and environmental responsibility, committed to using business as a force for good.