Copies of Foreign Letters from G. A. Grey to Robert Selby Esq. London.

R. Selby Esq

Oporto, Collin’s Hotel 14 January 1838

Dear Sir, As there is little dependence on the Mail being able to cross the bar at this time, I shall send you a few lines to Vigo for the Steamer, by the bag which leaves this on Tuesday, though I have not yet got much information I have no doubt you will be glad to hear from me; for all the gossip look over my Mother’s letter and forward it, I will put all the business matters and that which needs to be retained in Burleigh Street with your letter. I will begin and jot down remarks as they come and leave you to put them into better order - Mr Cox who came with us is a merchant here and has been unfortunate, he gave me some information and will give me more, he is an enterprising man and took Pedro’s contracts; there are several people at this house, 5 or 6 live here always, and know all about the business and talk freely - I find that Mr. Ellis’ partner Graham

George Annett Grey's Letters to Robert Selby.

14 January - 25 May 1838. Investigations into the the wine trade.

is largely engaged in the wine trade and has a large store so I did not dare to let him know that I was a wine mercht; I have been obliged to pass myself off as connected with the coal trade, and as taking a look at these towns on the coast on my way to the Mediterranean, this takes well and there are few difficulties in the way; only if anyone should know me and let the cat out of the bag it would place me very awkwardly and keeps me very fidgety when I meet people, but I have not seen any “ ?Scou’d body”. Mason is on before me—you will see by the other letter that I have been for some time in Mr Ellis’ company which I did not fail to make use of, he is very kind and says he will give me any information on wine or any subject I may wish for—so seeming to know very little, I keep him talking on the right line, as much as possible, mixing it up with many other subjects, on all of which he talks well and is evidently well informed.

Now for the answers to Mr Duraud’s questions which are as follows

“1st What are the Varieties or qualities of the grapes of which the Vines of the principal Vineyards of the Douro are composed? It is desired that the


Now for the answers to Mr Duraud’s questions which are as follows

“1st what are the Varieties or qualities of the grapes of which the Vines of the principal Vineyards of the Douro are composed?  It is desired that the names of these plants should be put in Portuguese or in Spanish.

2nd Is there probably in the Vineyards a greater part of black grapes, or other mixtures, of white, rose or grey?

3rd At what period do they make the Vintage? égrappe-t-on do they select the grapes?  do they put in “Platne” bitumen as in Spain? do they put in boiled must?

4th How long do they leave the Vintage to ferment?

5th Do they put it in “Cuves” a large space, of wood, of mason work, or in Vats to ferment the vintage?

6th At what period do the merchants draw off the wines which they have bought?

7th Do they strengthen the wine immediately in entering the magazines?

8th How much brandy do they strengthen them with?

9th At what strength is that Brandy?

10th Is it old?

11th Do they make it in this country or in the environs?

12th Is that Brandy white or coloured as that of Cognac or La Rochelle?

13th Is all the Brandy that they put in these wines put in at once or successively at each racking?

14th How long do they keep the wines in the Magazines at Porto before they send them to England?

15th Are the wines fined and at what period?

16th With what substance do they fine them?  with whites of eggs, or with isinglass?

17th How are the wines lodged in the stores of the Merchants at Porto, Villanova, or their mansions?

18th Are they in great Vats or in pipes?

19th How long to they keep the wine in the pipes to season them?

20th What wood do they use for the fabrication of these pipes?

21st Know if when they buy the new wines, they buy in preference sweet wines, or dry; it will be very useful to have samples to serve as a rule.

22nd If when these wines are in the Magazines they give them age?

23rd If they rack and at what periods?

24th If they rack often?

25th If before these expeditions the wines receive some gallons per pipe of very old wine, according to the need they have?

26th Are these very old wines kept in the Magazines strengthened and attended to in the same manner as other wines?

27th It would be useful to procure a sample of the brandy used to strengthen the wines at Porto.

28th If they put in the wines some mixture of dogwood, or other drug to give colour or flavor to the wine.


Answer to No. 2.  There are chiefly two sorts, but several others, these are mixed -  No. 3 In September generally; they do not put in “Platne” or boiled wine - No. 4.  It is generally over in 3 or 4 days -  No. 5. In what they call “Tunnels” which hold from 5 to 30 pipes each -  No. 6.  From March on to June when the river becomes too small -  No. 7. Yes, almost always -  No. 8. One eighth of a pipe in good wine, more in weak or inferior wines -  No. 9. Proof and upward if the wine is strong and young, they may use stronger brandy, sometimes 30 or 40 BP, but if the wine is delicate, so must be the brandy                                                                                                                                                          No. 10.  In the same way as the wine may be old or young from 1, 2, and 4 years old.  No. 11.  It is all made up in the wine country -  No. 12. It is pale, it is also course in quality and never used to drink except among the very lowest classes -  No. 13. It is put in at many times and in small quantities during the whole time that the wine is here -  No. 14.  They keep the wine here 2, 3 and 4 years, great quantities shipped at 2, and last year many strongly blended with one year old by houses to sell at low prices to “raise the wind” at a great loss to themselves, -  No. 15. Generally before every racking but they do not always need it.  No. 16. With whites of eggs, nothing else -  Nos. 17. and 18. In pipes after having been blended in large casks, the old company made a law against anything but pipes being used, but now some of the houses who think for themselves, are using large Vats to keep the wine of equal quality -  No. 19. Till sent to England - No. 21.  sweet wines always are preferred, and often, if wines are very dry, they are mixed with a very sweet wine called Jerapiga but the best houses do not like it as it goes off and leaves the wines worse than before.  No. 22.  Dark and strong wines are often blended with white port to make them look older and thinner, but the best houses also condemn this practise -  Nos. 23. and 24. Many wines need to be racked every 3 or 4 months, while they remain here, but not all quite so often.  No. 25.  If old ripe wine is ordered from England, it is recommended -  No. 26.  Yes and blended from time to time with a little very fine old brandy and some fresh good bodied wine to refresh it.  No. 28. The Merchants say not, but an old German gentleman living here for nearly 20 years says he has analized Wine often and is sure they sometimes use dogwood, and he says up the river they use Elder berries, but I am not sure of this - Now for my scrap book - The cost of Transfer to the Douro and down the river from 7/ to 9/  per pipe -  Cost of the wine, without casks, in land, from £5 to £15 per pipe.  Mr Ellis says the average price in a good Vintage is £10, but some crack Vineyards as high as £25, he says in two years the costs fully double its price—that is transport down, rack in Storehouse, care etc making it £20, add to this cost of pipe 30/, duty to this government on shipments of £3 per pipe;  1/8 of a pipe of brandy at £30 per pipe first cost, and freight to London say £1, in this way they can’t get it into London much under £30,--the loss is reckoned at 5 per cent per annum from racking and loss—these pieces of information are from Mr Cox and Mr Ellis, and I feel sure may be depended upon, Mr E. is thought one of the best men here - and now I begin to feel settled, and know a number of people I will keep picking up one way or other; there is a young man called Evans living here, who has charge of Mr. Arthur’s business here, I see him at his books in the evening and will make a companion of him sometimes for my own purposes; Johnston the Consul is not connected with any one here at all, has not been here long; I hear he is a quiet gentlemanly man and very retired, it is reckoned not etiquette if you do not call on the Consul, I shall do so—Ellis has introduced me to his partner Graham, when I am to be at a party tomorrow night, and to dine at Ellis’ on Tuesday, he is going to put my name down at the Factory House, which is a sort of Club house and reading rooms of the English Merchants and big nobs where one can go and read all the papers and be considered respectable and meet and talk with the merchants – Mr. E. considers the wine trade here in a very bad state, he says the prices have fallen in England partly because many houses here have been so overstocked that they are obliged to sell at any price, there are 160.000 pipes at this time (before this year’s wines come in) in Porto, and last years shipments were 21.000, which would argue that they require 7 years to get off their present stock for the sales to other parts are nothing; last year 1,800 to America and 2,000 to Brazil, and they must sell, there is such a terrible want of money here, in consequence many houses will buy very smally of this years wine, so the demand being small, prices may likely be low; this he expects with the growers having been badly paid for some years, and they are very poor; will cause them to throw part of the lands out of Vine growth; he thinks the Merchants here are getting very small profits except a few who have a crack hand, and he expects several crashes before long among the English Houses – Sandiman’s present store is 11.000 pipes – About the Douro trip - The fixed fair is quite done away with since the termination of the Wine Company, now every body goes up when he likes and goes about to the several farms and buys where and as he best can and often not take many, or they regularly take the wine on a certain estate when known to be good, so I may go when it seems to be best, probably as soon as the rainy season is over which has lasted six weeks, it is easy enough going but Mr. E. thinks it impossible to get a guide who can speak English, there is a Mr. Franklin who lives up there, they say for his own convenience, and does business on comn if I can’t do better I will get a letter to him, and if from Graham he will be likely to give me good information and send his son round with me to the farms, they do not require long to go over as the do not lie far from the river, we can ride up in two days, so a fortnight altogether will likely do all that is needed - There is one thing very much against this port which is the entrance being so bad, many ships have been off the bar for seven weeks and are now in Vigo bay and it is still worse getting out, ships are frequently lost, it is growing much worse than it used to be - The government here seems to be passing a very mad policy towards England in raising the duties on all our goods; on Manchester and Glasgow goods it is raised from an ad valorem duty of 15 p cent to 40 per cent, and there is an Englishman living here agent for a Birmingham house, who says the rise on hardware is from 200 to 250 per cent on the Value of the goods – on a new coal it is £3, if we were to pay them back in like manner it would hurt them very much; there are about 80 ships come into this port on an average per month, there is a good deal of trade with Brazil still, and they ship a considerable quantity of Indian corn to the South of Portugal – The plums I think are scarcely worth sending at this season they are very dry and one of these little round boxes costs above 3/-  At this house, the only one where a person can put up, they board and feed us by the lump – a good room with table etc where one can write, breakfast, dinner etc with a bottle of wine and desert and tea, (we mess in public) for 1.600 rees a day (about 8/-)  It is rather high for this country but I fancy they make the English pay – those who live here constantly are of course on better terms –

Coals here are very high in price Mr, E. pays £7 per pipe but I don’t yet know exactly what that measure is - There is no fear I should think of having a letter opened the English bags are made up by the Consul –

(Tuesday 16th)  Since writing the above I have been with Evans over Mr. Arthur’s Stores they are not so large as many, he says that £10 p pipe is near the average value of wine up the country in usual years such as 1836-35 and 33 but you must take out of the average the peculiarly fine years as 1834 when the average price was £15 and the demand and price rose so quickly that by the time they came down here, they were worth nearly £30 -  the 36 are very bad and very few of them will be fit for our market, they are keeping all the 34 they can to blend; and in the 35 they are blending 3 almudes of very rich 34 to each pipe (21 almudes = 1 pipe)  I think they are fearful of the 36 keeping, as many of them have already had from 30 to 45 Canãdas of brandy p pipe – as near as I can calculate 2 ¼ canãdas make one gallon;-  The account of the 37 Vintage is so bad that none of the Merchants are troubling yet to go and look after them – many seem careless about going at all – he shewed me some 36 wine made up with a very little old wine and a large quantity of brandy for Plymouth and Scotland at £20, but I did not think it at all better, or likely in the end to be so good as our RR he said afterwards himself that it was only fit for negus and that if it was not ordered they would not think it worth their while shipping such, as the cost of brandy, and the duties and expenses being here all as high as on good wine, it left almost nothing for profit, though in itself it had not cost above £5.10 or £6 up land – He says the cost of bringing down is more except from some near places than I have before stated, they seldom get them down under 20/- he does not fine every time he racks, but when the wine is muddy or if it is earthy or tastes of the wood or anything that is improper – he puts in about 2 or 3 canãdas of brandy at each racking – I tasted his brandy 12 OP after having been kept some time, it is to my notion as near the strong pale stuff in the counting house as possible if I can get samples I will send them first to you but this will be difficult, it will look startling, I will try just before I leave – Question No. 20 - All pipes are made of oak, the pipes are all the same as those sent to England – they season all the new pipes for a time with inferior wine before using them, they are now using the 36 for that purpose – I tasted the sweet Jerapiga wine, it is thick and lushcious, without much flavour or aroma, the white of the same name is as like as may be to the sweet French wine, this is what they use to make the young Port paler, and at the same time it gives a richness or rather sweetness if it is too dry – I shall stop now and try to have my opinions confirmed or altered by further enquiries on all these points – I saw Warre last night but don’t think he could recollect me, , it is and established fact here that I am a Coal owner from the North of England, and it is such a little gossiping place that if a thing is told to one every body knows it next day – I know already most of the English on Change to speak to – Things are in a queer state here, on Sunday night all the Military turned out armed and with canons loaded and surrounded the Governor’s house, threatening to blow him up and all that part of the town if he did not pay them up three months pay; this wanted about £500 and the Governor has not so many  pence, they paid about one month’s pay by taxing the inhabitants an extra rate, they have returned to their barracks but are under no command and are only waiting to see if they will be paid shortly – the liberal party have split among themselves and there is no doubt there will be a change soon, every soldier and all the national guard will join any leader who may rise and the merchants are of the same mind -  I should like before going to Cadiz and Gibraltar to have some introductions, whether we are to be friends or foes it may be as well to know some of them -  I think if all goes right I shall not want money before reaching Lisbon – Yours etc G.A.G.


R. Selby Esq. Oporto 19 Jany 1838


Dr Sir,     We expect the English Mail very soon when I shall probably hear from you, I sent off a letter by the express to Vigo last Tuesday the 16th covering one to Dilston which I hope may have reached you safely – Since, I have not seen or done much of consequence except having frequent conversations with the Merchants; Ellis tells me that it will not pay to ship wine of any class at £20 p pipe, and that it must be very low indeed and young at £25 as the expenses are as great or frequently greater on poor wine than on good, thus making up the difference in the first costs of the wines, this is chiefly from their needing so much fortifying; the Brandy costs at first as I before stated £30 p pipe on an average and the older it is the better; it should at least be as old as the wine into which it is put and much older if the wine is delicate in flavour or thin, the interest on this brandy and the loss of strength and quantity from keeping will  increase the price – I think there is nothing to be feared from these low wines:  Mr. Cox the older told me, and as he has been long in the trade he should know, and as he is now out of the trade, and I have found all the information he has given me to agree with Mr. Ellis and others I am much inclined to believe; that in the time of the Company the profits p pipe were great running from £10 and far upwards, but now the competition is so great that it is much lower, he says a  few houses who ship quantities not great, say from 1.000 to 1.500 three years ago, and from 600 to 1.000 last year for that is about the proportion, and all of the highest quality may clear from 5 to 10 £ p pipe, but that houses who ship very largely as Sandeman, Martinez and some others much of which is of a very low order, do not manage more than from 2 to 5 £ p pipe, and I think this is very near the fact-in an evening I sometimes get a young chap to talk rather high and wide about the profits and good business, he then likely states too high a scale; at another time I vex him with casting up their shameful profits and that they must be making so much, then he begins to point out all the drawbacks, and states the profits rather below the mark, and though neither are correct, both help one to what is -  There seems considerable difficulty in getting up the river from want of language, all the English here speak Portuguese so that even the wives of many of the English men are unable to speak English; there is a young man here for his health , son of a Mr, Cullagh a Wine Merchant in Dublin going up next month I shall either join him or not as I see best, none of the merchants seem to be going up till May – I find Dr. Jebb is here and not in Lisbon so I have called on him but have not seen him, they say he is a nice man – Shaw seems to have been much liked among the Merchants here,  he is highly spoken of as an officer and a gentleman – I have never heard any one speak of French wine or mention your name, and dare not start the subject, but when the time for my leaving is near, I shall probe them freely; there is a talk of having the export duty reduced, but in the present unsettled state of things and the bankrupt state of Government it is very unlikely to take place; the other day the Governor rode to the Customhouse and took away every fraction they had, not having money to pay their own officers – The English Mail has arrived but nothing for me, the Falmouth Mail leaving London on Saturday is in time for the Steamer – I see there has been a terrible fire at the Exchange – every merchant here goes on change for two hours daily, I always go, there are always plenty to talk to – I know many more and feel much more at home among them that I do at the East Vault (20th ) I have been today over all Mr. Sandeman’s Store with Mr. Thomson a gentleman in his house, it is like going through the London Vaults, he says that wine which costs in the wine country about 40 milrees (about £9.3.0) will cost 50 mil. more before it is over the bar, if shipped at the end of one year, making it twenty guineas, and that very good wines may be bought for £10, and that wines of that price or under, double their value within 18 months without the duty and exps of shipment; in taking a storehouse they reckon the rent at 8 testoons or about 4s/ a year per pipe – the wood is all Ballick oak  no one can tell the cost of keeping up old pipes, or the loss per cent on value as in Mr Duraud’s charges, he has 150 men always employed at 10s/ a week and the hoops cost nearly £80 a month – he does not know what the timber costs, he reckons the loss from racking and lees at 5 p cent per anum, I have never heard any one state it higher even for the first year and several lower – he says no house makes a profit of more than £7 p pipe very few more than £5; he would not say what they make; he says that out of 180.000 pipes in Porto and Villanova he does not think there are above 10000 of fine wine.  They blend a great deal for our market, there is 36 wine in their present shipments with 34 and some older, he cannot fix an average age, from 1 and 2 to 4 and 6 years old:  there are very few 34 wines left and when they are done they will be very badly off, as they have had no wine since so useful for giving body and fruit, they rack frequently especially the first year, but in this they are guided by the condition and discription of the wine, he says they do not fine much unless to prepare for shipment,  or if they want to make a thick young wine loose body and color (mark this) he says he tried fining a strong thick young wine very strongly and in a short time made it like a wine of 1815, he thinks that several houses use it in this way, but the wine is not so full and good as when it grows old naturally; he never blends wine in Vats but in the usual pipes; wine is never insured in the stores here – they put in about 1/5 of the brandy at first, and the rest in small quantities, altogether 1/7 or 1/8 of the pipe – the new pipes are kept full of cheap young wine for one or two months before good wine is put into them; his information confirms all former statements except No, 15 with respect to the fining, and Nos. 17 and 18 being always kept in pipes and No. 22, did not mention white wine to give age, but the fining instead, and 25 that they are always blending; yet on these points it does not widely differ, he thinks wine will be bought low this year but it is very bad, as this is the case I see little use in sending samples to Mr. Duraud it would only mislead him, and if he wants older wine, a bottle of 34 might go as well from London, there is none of that year over here, it will be almost impossible to get answers to several of the items in the copy of charges as no one here ever sends more than a small portion of the cargo of a ship -  (22nd Janry) I expected to have had some more to tell you but have been disappointed in not seeing several stores, which I expected to have seen, they are all over at Villanova and the weather has been so bad it rains rivers of water every day, so it is not easy getting people to go with me I have been through Mr. Arthur’s again and find that I understood him right, they fine frequently but as their stock is small in proportion to their shipments it strengthens my opinion that they use it to make young wines seem old —Information from Mr. Bold of the house “Knowles, Bold & Co.”, (there used to be a Proctor in the firm); at whose house I have spent two evenings also confirming this opinion, but he says young wines should not be fined and old wines the less the better, once or twice before shipment or perhaps three times if the wine be difficult to get bright; he says a stock is generally three times as large as the actual shipment which I find in most stores to be nearly the case this proves the average age of the wine to be three years I think the proportions at present are often about these in making up wine for England

Wine of 1835 or 2 years old – 13 Almudes

    “             34   ------------------- 3       “

Older say 10 years old ------------3       “

Brandy------------------------------21     “        =to one Pipe

I hear that in Shipments the Merchant does not supply wood for fixing casks, there used to be a charge for stowage but none is made now, I hear it is the case still in the Cadiz trade.  The merchants are all in a sad way today; on Saturday it was made known that the bank connected with government is going to stop payment for twelve months, an express was sent off with a deputation to entreat them to consider well before taking such a step, the branch here has not yet received orders to stop, and this morning there has been a fearful run upon it, every one is in consternation and confusion, you hear nothing but “Portugal is ruined” “the country is at an end” etc, there is a talk that they want England to buy Madeira and their islands on the African coast but that would only put off the evil day a little longer – business was never known to be in such a state and no one can see how it is to be got over – and if the confidence is lost in the government and the bank, there will be little more confidence among the merchants – I don’t remember an instance in history of trade thriving in a country after that country had sunk – “Messrs. Graham and Ellis” have a law Suit going on with government – they made a retrospective law, one which was to take effect nine months before it was made, which was a “rum” sort of thing, this brought them indebted to the customhouse nearly £1.000, which they refuse to pay, they being the largest debtors the others are all hanging off to see how they succeed – what is our Consul here for?  should our government not take notice of such a thing and protect her subjects?- after all we may be thankful for such a government as we have got in Old England – Mr. Cullagh tells me that his father in Dublin has generally about 500 pipes yearly of Port from this place from Bold – and “Kingston Esquire & Co.” Houses, we must have him looked after some time, but he is a terrible rank tory and orangeman – even when I have left this place it will be better to let it be known as little as possible who I am, as I am not known as a W Merchant – I close for the Vigo express, no ships have yet been able to cross the Bar – remember me to all etc etc  Yours etc etc G.A.G.


R.Selby Esq Oporto 26 Jany 1838

On Tuesday 23rd I sent off a single sheet to you, by the Vigo express, the next day I went through “J. Atkinson and Co.’s” store, it is from 1.000 to 1.500 pipes, he is not a shipper to England but buys and makes up wine to sell again here, his is reckoned to be wine of the finest quality in Oporto and is generally bought up by Merchants for blending – I find his treatment of wine resembles very closely the others – No. 7.  they put into young wine at first about 8 to 10 canãdas of brandy, and about 2 more at each racking till there is 1/7 of the pipe – Nos. 9 and 10, he likes the brandy to be old from 3 to 5 years, but it is still above proof, and for wine which is kept very old as No. 26 then brandy must be as old and ripe as possible, racking it once a year or so and putting in 2 canãdas of this old brandy and 2 to 4 of fine fresh wine such as 34 to refresh it – confirm my statements as to Nos. – No. 15. he fines very seldom unless there is any taste of the wood, earth, or impurity in the wine, or to make them look well before sale  No. 16. nothing is ever used but eggs – 17 he never uses anything but pipes, and blends from one pipe to another, says wine would be too long in ripening in larger quantities, but does not like Hogsheads.  No. 19. two months, and while not used to be kept washed out with wine frequently to keep them sweet, the same inferior  wine is used over and over again sometimes for two years for the same purpose - 21. they like young wines to be sweet, but this is used chiefly for mixing, the quantity of sweet wine is generally small, in a year when naturally sweet wine is likely to be scarce they can make wine sweeter by stopping the fermentation, but this is not so good as when it is naturally sweet and will only do for mixing – No. 22  They sometimes give wine age by racking often, he thinks this does not injure the wine much and brings it forward much quicker, while it leaves the wine more pure and clean than if blended with white wine and with more body than if weakened by frequent fining with eggs – No. 23  They do not mind at what period they rack, except in Summer – No. 24  They rack young wines every 2 or 3 months, old wines as seldom as possible; frequently till from 2 to 3 years old after that more and more seldom as they gain age, - No. 25  They are always blending and making up, they say that there has never been a pipe shipped to England which contained one half 34 wine; nicety in this mixing is reckoned the greatest requirement for a merchant here – They reckon a pipe costs (the wood hoops and making) from 6 to 6 ½ milrees or from 27s/5 to 29/s9 - a Hogshead 3/ more in proportion – rest of store at 4/ p pipe for the best pipes 5 p cent interest on all money invested and 5 p cent loss on lees etc -  As no merchant renders an account to any one on the other side, no especial acct. is kept of such items as – Stowing casks in the magazine – Filling Vats or Pipes, racking

etc, nor for deterioration in value of casks, but I think that 2 p cent on their value will cover it – wine is never insured – Export charge £3 p pipe, port charges included in the freight or not as the bargain may be, the freights vary, these you know as well at home; a Vessel trading with this port is calculated to loose one third of the year from difficulty in getting in and out of the harbour, there are a number of Vessels off now from Brazil since the middle of December, and many in the river which have been six weeks ready for sea, this explains the highness of the freights – I was also yesterday in “Messrs Ormerod’s & Co’s “ Store with his nephew but he could not tell me much I shall return with Mr. Redpath their manager, it is next in extent to Sandeman’s but much better in quality – As it is a wet day I shall give you a “screed” out of the Lisbon mail which I saw in the reading room, they are not to be bought here or I shd. have sent it you.  It rather shows that they feel their wine trade in a bad state, and in this state and the growers in poverty you cant expect the wine to he well made and attended to – “Baron Sabroza’s speech,” he laid on the table a project of law for diminishing the export duties on Port wine – He observed “That the project of law aimed at equalising the export duties on wine and thus remedy the evils which threaten distruction to the cultivators of this article in the kingdom and especially the Douro” – “The Premature abolition of the Porto Wine Co. which made the northern provinces so prosperous, after the congress of 1820 reformed it in the most judicious manner was the cause of the stagnation experienced in the wine market, as that precipitate measure shewed the way of adulterating the precious and singular wine of the Douro, to the utter ruin of the traffic and culture of this important branch – the same may be said of Bucellas, Setubal (St Ubes) Muscatel, and even Madeira wines – The checking of this practice must be an object of the first consideration of the Cortes, otherwise Spanish wines will find their way in preference into Foreign markets, especially England which is the most important point for the exportation from this country as the credit which good Port wine enjoyed was completely annulled.” –

In another part the Editor remarks “The greatest misery it is acknowledged prevails in the wine countries simultaneously - “with this calamity the Cortes in their all sufficient wisdom have increased, not reduced, the duty 25 p cent on salt fish the main necessity of life in the northern provinces of Portugal; it is plain therefore to infer that the laudable motion of the Baron Sabroza in bringing forward this project for reversing the ill fated new tariff from his conviction of the ruinous tendency of this tariff on the Portuguese wine trade, and goes on to state that the reasons are the very high duties being laid on British productions – last year the quantities of wine Shipped to

Britain and Ireland was 21.110 pipes

    Brazil                               2.843    “

    To France 24 Gallons! United States                  860     “

    All other places                 962     “

                   Total Exports of 1837              Pipes    25.775


I have been thinking of Graham & Co’s dispute with this Government, and have come to the conclusion that it is no business of our government to interfere; by settling here in trade they put themselves on a footing with the Portuguese and must subject themselves to the same laws; the bank has determined not to stop yet and has stood out the run, but confidence is much shaken by it and trade likely to be much hurt (27th Jany)  I have been to Osborn’s office, the man who brands “Trash” he is shipping to America and writes very windy circulars, he shewed me a letter from Mr. Franklin the gentleman I mentioned as living up the Douro, he stated that wines would be low in price and that good wines could be bought from 30 to 40 mil, or £6.17.6 to £8.6.8 – but I don’t think Osborn buys the first class, though he talks big about them – Mr. F. also quoted the Jerapiga sweet wine at a price which with the expes. down the river brings it to about £19.10 p pipe – to save mistakes the milree is now equal to 4s/7d – the almuda the 21st part of a pipe – the  Canãda nearer 2 1/8 than 2 ¼ of our gallon (Jany 29th) The English Mail is again in by way of Vigo, but no letters for me wh. surprises me much, I fear you have not paid the postage on the English side wh. is necessary – people here say they have never known of letters being intercepted in quiet times -  I thought the Jerapiga was made from a peculiar sort of grape, but that is not the case, it is a manufactured wine, by stopping the fermentation very early, and it has a decoction of brown sugar etc – but I shall be able to give you a better acct. when I have been up the river – From reading the Lisbon Mail I saw symptoms of a new Wine Company being formed this led me to make enquiries and I find from good authority in several quarters that such a thing is in progress – I will now try to give you my present ideas of it – The Merchants here have felt their trade falling off and the character and reputation of Port wine diminishing ever since the old Company was done away ( I do not believe that to be the cause however) they intend to institute a new one on something the same footing but without such exclusive rights, they wish to limit as formerly the district which is to grow wine for England and also to limit the quantity to be shipped for England, that is a certain quantity is marked for England and the grower can’t send more, but he may change the marks from one fifty pipes, say, to fifty others, or if he wishes to ship a greater quantity he may buy permits at about £6 p pipe which are granted by the Co., The Co. are not to have the right of supplying themselves before any others or of fixing the prices of the wine up the Douro as heretofore – now for the effects of these changes – they expect that this limiting of district will cause a great quantity of land to be thrown out of Vine growth which has been used for that purpose since the Old Co. was done away and which sent such great quantities of cheap wine into the market and hurt the reputation of Port in England as well as making great competition in the trade – again by limiting the quantity of wine for shipment few but the best wines will reach England, by this they expect to maintain good prices and fair profits and support the reputation of their wine, and by throwing the low wine out of demand naturally stop its being produced in such large quantities, in all this they argue rightly, but at the same time its affect on us will I think be good, for if the quantity of Port in Engd. is small and the price high, it will only be used by the highest classes, and the great bulk of consumers will turn their attention to French and Spanish, and as I heard a person here observe that those who had been in the habit of using 20 and 30 £ Ports would be obliged to use Masden and Figueira wines, I heard also that Masden grew in France and was a very fine wine and was much in demand in Engd. , and that Figueira was made down the coast was not a very good wine, but if low Ports were excluded from Engd. would no doubt be sent there to mix with Ports to cheapen them – at present they are often brought here to make Port of, but if the  Co. were established no wine would be admitted into this port for reexportation – In thinking that being put on the same plane as formerly, will put them on the same footing again in England, they make a great mistake, their wine has been loosing character, which tho’ they continue in future to ship only good wine will not be easily recovered; and since the breaking up of the Co. the trade has got into so many more hands, that by shipping small quantities even at large profits few will be able to live from it, and the duties having been reduced on French wines, many of which are admitted here to be “good wines but not like the Douro wines” – The truth is they feel their trade going and their pockets becoming empty, they must lay the blame on something, and try by some alteration whether a wise one or not to make a change – Mr Ellis tells me that with their stock which is not great, 6 or 800 pipes which they have bought up from time to time when the price of wine was very low, just as a speculation and to invest spare capital, after exps and Interest they have not at this day made a loss, but have not made one penny of profit,  it is charged with no exps except the few coopers etc necessary; then what must be the state of houses who have bought regularly whether prices were high or low, and whose business is charged with clarks, agents, and partners expences, and must make regular sales let the prices be never so low – Mr. E. says the rent of their lodge is at the rate of 9 testoons for every pipe – Mr Arthur’s house has had an order today for 20 pipes at £25 and 30 from Pigeons I think “Sturgeon and Pigeon” distillers in the Bro., he says they are good people, have they been seen?  If money is sent to me it should be an order on a merchant not on a bank as one can’t refuse their paper which is at a great discount – I find I can’t drink the wine here at all except among water, it gives me heartburn and it makes me ill through the night; the white wine if this country is very very bad, tastes of wood and earth and no wine.  When I leave this I think of riding to Lisbon it costs more than by sea,  but I shall see a great deal of country, none of your insinuations, it is not altogether for fear of being sick.  My German friend has paid his passage money and has been detained by the bar being impassible for ten days and likely to be much longer, there is an Estaffette, or a sort of cavalcade of men and mules which go once a week they take five days it is not safe going in smaller numbers, the Lisbon Mail guard was murdered and the bags robbed last week (30th) I must close for the Vigo express, I have little more to tell you, from the weather being so bad I have not been able to get the merchants to go over to Villanova to the Stores, the seeing of the stores is of little use as all use the same, but it gives one an excuse for asking questions but the customs here seem to be almost the same amongst all, varying a little according to the quality of wine the deal in, and the wealth of the Merchants, if there are any further questions or remarks let me have them, and I shall find out on my return from the Douro, I shall not certainly be able to go for another week, - I hear that Figueira red wine is delivered here with casks at £8 p pipe but it is little thought of, no doubt if the low wines here were excluded from the Engish  Market, these would be sent there to reduce Port but from what I can learn we have nothing to fear from them, when I state £8 it is for wine just  made.  On an average I learn it requires 8 ¼ pipes of good wine of Altro Douro to make one pipe of Brandy – 14 ½ of the wine of the Minhõ which is the province north of this – and 10 ½ in the Beira the province to the south among which the Figuiera wines class – I shall next week send a letter for my Mother – Things here look a little better these few days, but we may well say of every thing in and connected with this country “The De’el is ower Jock Webster” With kind remembs to all – I am etc G. A. G.


Robt Selby Esq. Oporto 2nd Feby 1838 –

Dr Sir,     On the 30th Ulto I sent off for you a letter by the Vigo express – Since then I have seen Ormerod’s Store with Mr. Redpath and Mr. Bold shewed me over his, their treatment agrees so closely with those I have before seen, that I need scarcely detail it anew, except for the sake of impressing it – Ormerod’s Store is of about 6.000 pipes he is not a shipper but buys to speculate, and blend and make up.  No. 23 he racks young wine about every 3 months, adding about 1 or 2 galls of brandy at each time after having given 5 gallons at first, till there is 1/7th  or rather more of the pipe brandy,  never rack without adding spirit – with old wine they only rack when it appears to need it – I observed a lot of egg shell out side the door, they say they fine sometimes when the wine has very impure taste, or if it is not in good condition before shipment, but not otherwise, except if wines are unusually green and thick, in which case fining before racking makes them ripen or seem old sooner than if left to their own course, he does not think larger casks than pipes would do as the wine would not ripen for a much longer time, he keeps the Vintages distinct and pure till the wine is two years old after which the character is developed and they may know how to blend with the greatest advantage, he blends a great deal before sale – he says the Jerepigo is made sweet by putting in about 20 galls of brandy p pipe and thus stopping the fermentation, and that this is much used to give sweetness and richness to dry wine when it requires it – He does not think there is any chance of getting the internal duty of £3 reduced, the expences of shipment are not great 3/ p pipe will cover them, store rent 4/ p pipe – he says on low wines there is very little profit on those of £20 not above 20/ or 30/; but on some of the fine wines the profits are good as much as 10 and 12£ p pipe and even more, he instanced a sale of Mr. Harris to some manufacturers in England, nine pipes for £630, but this I do not think any rule it was a sale to private parties and he was bound not only to have his wholesale profit but to protect his retail customer by also adding the retailer’s profit; but if they do get a profit of 10 or 12 £ on wine at from 50 to 60 £ after keeping it 5 years which they must do to obtain these prices and the wine at first of the finest quality, it is nothing great – Mr. Bold’s rent is 10 testoons or 5/ p pipe per anm , his stock is about 2.000 pipes and of very fine quality, his usual yearly shipment is about 700 pipes, and I find in most shipping stores that a third or as nearly as may be is yearly shipped, last year was an exception, but this proves the usual average age of wine to be three years his treatment as to racking and adding brandy is just the same as the other, he puts in altogether 3 Almunedes in good wine, some poor wines need more and even a very sweet wine like 34 requires 3 ½ Almunedes to make it keep, his account of the 37 Vintage agrees with others which is very bad, so much so that hardly any merchant thinks of going up the Douro this year, one reason also may be that their stocks are all large from the demand having been so small last year, he shewed me 37 wine that had just come down for the use of the men and for washing the casks, he says the worst he ever tasted which cost £3 – He seasons the casks by scalding them out a few times with salt water, then letting them remain full for a few weeks of this inferior wine, but he says the wood will not hurt very young rough wine as there is still some degree of fermentation going on and by fining and racking a few times it looses any taste, this is almost the only case in which he uses fining except to make it look well when going to England, a fine and delicate wine would be injured by the wood – I have got a paper with some form for the new wine Co. which I send you, he thinks the Co. will do a great deal of good to old established houses, it will prevent new settlers, and prevent scores of tradesmen, who, if they have a few pounds, speculate in wine, and are frequently obliged to sell off at any price, and so hurt the market; in short it will prevent competition and raise the price of fine wines – you will observe the proposed duty on exportation of the first quality which is the only wine to go to England, is 12 mill. which is according to the present exchange £2.15. – but the milrees is often higher than 4s/4 – I wonder how the government proposed to prevent adulteration – People say racking sometimes refreshes wine and it should not be too long in the same cask, an old rich Portuguese here, who is said to have the best wine in Oporto and to pay the greatest attention to it – Lopeis by name – said one day when he had racked some fine wine into a fresh cask which had been well washed out with brandy “How revived that wine must feel on getting into a fresh sweet cask, just as we do on putting on a clean shirt after a long journey” – there is a medium in this as in most other things, not to rack too often to reduce the wine, and yet not to let it remain too long to get flat or to receive injury from remaining too long with the lees – after the seasoning wine is taken out of a cask it should be well washed with a canãda of brandy before putting in the wine which is to remain; I have yet failed in finding a companion to go up the river, I expected to get Osburne to go, he has been up and speaks the language well. he was for some time main spring of Newton’s House here, but has left them, he then became correspondent of the Times newspaper in Lisbon, since which he has been out Super Cargo to America he is now driving a business for himself; but he does not now intend going – I have tried to get any sort of guide or clerk or servant who can speak English, but without success – I had almost fixed to start next Wednesday with Mc. Cullagh to make the best of our way to Franklin’s at Ragõa but he keeps putting off –Now I think I shall start alone for Franklin’s and trust to his son shewing me through the wine district, it is not extensive and most of the farmers follow the same plan, two days on each side of the river is said to be quite sufficient time to see the whole country – I think there is no charge on the news paper  but if there is you need not take it in -

(Feby 6th)  Mr. Bold wrote last week to Franklin to have a bed for me, and to do all things to forward my wishes, he is I hear a very talkative frank man and will  I expect give me all the information he can at this season, for now the making of the wine is all over – I think if I stay as long as I find any use in doing, say ten days or a fortnight, and then a week here on my return to talk over any points with the merchants which I may not quite understand, I may then decamp, this will bring me to the last of Feby, by which time I think I shall have learnt as much as I can do – if you agree to this, when the time of my leaving comes near you had better direct to Lisbon Post Office as there is much uncertainty in the delivery here – I shall not write again until my return from the Douro, as there is little chance of a letter coming safely – I send my letter to Dilston to you open, you will see by the intimate footing on which I have been with many of the merchants families that I have had every opportunity of gaining information without delay; and all go so much in the same way that I think there is little more to learn – I don’t know whether you and Mr. Duraud may be contented, but I feel confident in the correctness of the statements which I shall make to them at Perpignan – I don’t think I need money at present, perhaps I may before leaving Lisbon, I can be supplied in the mean time by Ellis’ House there – I must go to see after Mules and give my money to Ellis and get my letters to go up the country, I think I shall return by way of Amarante and Braga and Barcellos which is the finest country in the north of Portugal – My English passport is of no use to me here, I have had to get a Portuguese one to go up the country, they give a great deal of trouble here to Englishmen, as they call all foreigners, the country people think that we have destroyed their country by taking all their trade and work by sending our goods, one can’t stir without being insulted at every Village, and the officers think and rather truly, that we took the glory from them in the late revolution which makes them very jealous and imprudent, but they fear greatly an Englishman’s fists.-

Kind remembrances to all at home

Yours faithfully G.A.G.




Robert Selby Esq. Oporto 17th Feby 1838-

Dear Sir,   I have returned after a ten days cruise and find at the post office your ill fated letters of Jany 11th 19 and 26 and Feby 3 which contains copies of the former, and inclosed in one of them a letter from Dilston , containing good news of all there – Referring to your’s one by one – Jany 11th – These Lawyers seem to make their money very easily –‘s acct seems large but is I suppose all right – I think it only right that Walton should pay us a profit on the old Clyde if he wishes to have some of them, we haveing born the risk and responsibility, it is true we did not see much risk, but that does not alter the case, as other people and he among the rest did, were he taking 40 or 50 pipes it might not be wrong to sell them to him at a reduced profit, but I think you do right to be firm with him in this case as it will be a guide for him in future, as well as shewing him our confidence, - I am glad to see Cuthbertson is likely to work so freely, and that altho’ you have not been making sales, the operation is advancing in public opinion – It is also encouraging to see that “Duraud and fils” are so anxious to have dealings with you as it will allow you to fight a little shy and make better terms with them in the end, the matter will require a good deal of time and consideration but I think it may be made something of, and if so no house can do it better than ourselves (your of 19th) I do not know what House in N’castle is connected with Ewart and Co. but it matters little the will soon be all drawn to do likewise down there – With respect to Cyrus’ inserting our names I dare say you are right in desiring him to keep them out, many of the other Merchants would not like it, and the demand when it comes will find us out we are not hid under a bushel – I am sorry to find that Mrs Selby and two of the children have been so ill, but trust they are now all well again – I see the London papers here regularly and was glad to see that Ld. Durham’s appointment has given such general satisfaction, I know of no man better calculated for a situation requiring so much talent, firmness and liberality – I have also remarked the several fires, and hard weather, but am glad to learn from my Father that the latter is not likely to be attended with much hardship or ill consequences as they are well provided against it (yours of 26th –Your question as to No. 3 is easily explained, they never use any “Platre” or glutinous substance on the surface of the wine, or if the “Platre” is gypsum, nothing of the sort is ever used either in red wine or white – here boiled wine is never used as in Spain the tartaric property is augmented or diminished by greater or less quantity of the stalks pressed, or after the pure wine is run off by pressing the stalks and husks more or less as they find the wine requires it – No. 19 After washing with Salt water and sometimes burning a brimstone match they are kept as I have already stated with young or inferior wine for 6 weeks, and if not used directly are frequently washed and perhaps filled for a few days again, and rinsed out with spirit before the fine wine is trusted in them – No. 14 is a question that cannot be answered positively, those who ship good wine seldom do so under an average age of 3 years, in some thing like the proportions I have already given you, some who ship a very fine high priced wine may ship older say an average of 5 years but again many who ship £25 wines ship much younger not more than 1 ½ or 2 years old; but I should say decidedly wines from £35 to £50 average 3 years – I shall be glad to have the answers in good order and well digested from you, but I dare say having made myself pretty well versed in these matters, I may be able in conversation with the Durauds to give a good deal of information that one can hardly put on paper; you will find in my last letters some of the answers differing from those in the former, I now confirm the later statements – I am glad to see such an increase on French wine importations that is what makes the Porto men quake, though they are laying the blame on sherry – “Graham & Co. of New Road you probably know must be dealt with cautiously – your remarks regarding Farley Bassill Woodde and others are gratifying and only shew what is coming – Shaw’s movements also look well, he would not stir a step did he not see clearly that he was to be benefitted and that shortly.

Now for the Wine country – I started with Mc. Cullagh on the morning of the 7th the day after I last wrote too you and reached Ragõa the next day, this is as you know the town where the fair used to be held, and where the principal merchants have stores to collect the wine in before sending it down, if you do not find it on the map it is on the north bank of the Douro opposite Lameãgo which is a league on the south side – and 5 miles up the river from Mezamifrio where the wine district begins – I will not confuse this with all the particulars of the journey as you will see that in the log which I shall send to Dilston.  The first day we spent with  old Franklin in the neighbourhood of Ragõa, looking through many of the farmers’ stores and pressing houses, and walking among the Vineyards, seeing the pruning etc – The 2nd day rode with the Mr. Fs’  son up the south side of the river and returned by Lameãgo- 3rd –went up another part of the south bank with the old gentleman 4th went a days journey up the north with young F. through no towns but nearer the river then Revezand Castanheiro, crossing the country in the evening to Villa Real and returning the next day through another portion of the country to Ragõa seeing, all along different farms and Vineyards – I had an introduction to Mr. F. from Cox, and Mc Cullagh had one from Bold, each desiring him to give us every information and assistance in his power; he is what they call a “commissary” and does business for many of the Oporto Merchants, he has lived forty years there and here, is a very frank talkative man, and if you want information on any point you have only to start him and remember what you hear, and if you are not sure of having understood properly, ask again the next day and he will give it all over again, his son was two or three years in the Lancers under General Bacon in the late war and is now helping his father, he is not very bright did to ask my questions among the farmers and to translate - The answers and customs of almost all I found to agree very closely with each other and with old F’s statements.  I shall do my best to give you them – They never try anything new up here, their ways are all exactly the same as those of their Great Grandfather’s, they would not on any account make a change even if the advantage were plain –







Filling up vacancies













Questions nos 1 & 2


Names of wines in Alto Douro











Proportions of Do.







Qualities of Do.






Mixture of








ment of land

Price of land


Rent of Do.


Quantity Produced



Expences of cultivat-

ion and making the wine






Do. of carriage



Questn 3




Questn 5





Questn . 4













Second Pressing








Questn 3

Add brandy


Racking and treatment








Questn 28






















Questns. 9.11.12







Cost of Do.







Strength of brandy



White Wine







Wine Country

Extent of Do.











Pluck leaves



Prop vines





Land uncultivated





Quantity of wine grown


Wines of 1837


Price of Do.


Character of


The vines are pruned in Feby leaving them from 2 to 3 feet high and one of the last years shoots one foot more, only leaving one branch (that is, no branch at all) and cutting this off next year and leaving a fresh one, every other branch is cut close to the stalk, the knife used for this purpose is exactly the same as the drawing in Bushey’s book, the soil is also cleared away from the roots for nearly a foot below the surface that no sprout may be left – To fill up vacancies in the Vineyards, a long branch is left on a vine, this is laid down below ground and led to the place where the fresh plant is wanted, then the end is turned up six inches above the surface, this grows the next year, being for the present fed by the parent Vine but in a short time takes root for itself Vines are also engrafted if the sort of vine is not that desired, or if a greater proportion of another variety is required, in this way the grape wished for is obtained much earlier than by planting fresh vines; a vine if well pruned and kept will last for many years – Among those who are particular about the quality of their wine and in the best Vineyards no dung whatever is used, except the fallen leaves of the vines, but in many vineyards Lupins are sown after the vintage to grow up and to be dug in in the Spring, even this was not allowed in the time of the old Wine Co., it is thought to injure fine wine, the husks and lees of wine are also used in some places where quantity is desired rather than quality – In most of the Vineyards the great proportion of the grapes are black and purple, but in the best, about one third are generally pale and white and Mr. F. thinks this should always be the case, and it is so in those Vineyards which produce the highest priced wine  The names of the vines of which most of the vineyards are composed are as follows-

1 Bastardo                   }

2 Aloarilhão              }

3 Touriga                     }    Black

4 Souran Tinto Cas      }

5 Tinta de Mina           }    Purple

6 Barretto de Clerigo   }       &

7 Tinta Francisca         }    Dark

8 Mourisca                   }   grapes


9 Malvaria                   }

10 Muscatel de Jezus  }    Pale grapes

11 Dedos dos Damos  } (Ladies Fingers)

The Vineyards should be composed of all of these in proper proportions, but if not they do not keep back any portion of one sort or add more of another, so the management consists in having them planted in the proportions in which they are wished to be pressed – Many people will tell you that there are only two sorts of black grapes Nos. 1 & 2 and No. 9 of white, but this is not the case, almost every vineyard has all these and frequently others,  but these are the best – Nos. 1,2 and 9 should be in the greatest proportions as they are the best and what gives the fine character to good Port, and give the rich delicate flavour and fine aroma, but they are not grown so much as formerly, as they are not the most productive - No. 3 is a tolerable grape and is much used on account of its productive qualities - No. 4 is a harsh bad grape, but is now much used as it is the grape which gives the deep colour to the wine, but takes much from the delicacy and flavour; within a few years, since the English have cried out for colour this has been much grafted in the Vineyards of the Douro – Mr. F. thinks the greater the variety of grapes pressed together the better Nos. 1, 2 and 9 forming the greater proportion – and that the grapes of all sorts should be pressed and fermented together, and not mix the white wine with the red after the fermentation – For a few years past a fly has been gradually increasing and spreading in these vineyards, it is a small green one and leaves a slime behind it which destroys the foliage and renders the plant unproductive, they have not been able to find any plan to destroy it and are not likely, it has not yet reached the best wine grounds but gaining ground rapidly and destroys whole districts of vineyards – There is no superficial measure for land on the Douro, Mr. F. says he never heard of any The sum required to purchase as much land in a good wine district as will grow one pipe is equal to £100 – proprietors generally farm their own land, but where it is let, the farmer pays in a fine situation and good vineyard as much as six p cent and so downward, for the average vine lands 2 ½ or 3 p cent, and a great deal now not more than one per cent; judging of the quality of the land by the eye I think one acre where it is good will produce from 1 ½ to 2 pipes, but ordinary land not one pipe per acre, but this is of course a rough guess – The cost of cultivation of vine land and making the wine is about £3 p pipe – the expences are for pruning, hoeing (which takes place now when the pressing is finished and is done very roughly) digging about the month of March – propping up the vines just before they begin to bud and shoot – and the expences of gathering etc during the vintage, a considerable expence is also incurred from the stone walls falling down when a quantity of the earth slides with it, which is to carry back and build up again, the hill sides are all in shelves faced up with some walls –carriage of the grapes to the pressing house which is never in the fields as in Spain, treading, fermenting, pressing and carrying to the great tunnels; £3 per pipe on an average is reckoned to cover all this – Then the cost of transferring the wine to the Merchants store in Ragõa is according to the distance of the situation from, or up the river, from 5/ to 20/ p pipe, but this is the buyer’s expence – The vintage usually takes place during the first half of September but of course varies a little according to the season – At the time of the vintage the bunches are cut off  with knives by women and boys and the bad grapes and those very much dried cut off and  are carried to the pressing vats in baskets; the vats are in size according to the quantity of grapes to be pressed, say 20 feet long by 10 wide and 3 deep, a vat of large size is better than a small one; the more men there are in a Vat to press at once the better, as it should be done as quickly as possible, and the warmth from so many bodies, hastens the fermentations, and a quick fermentation is always liked, this is generally completed in 35 or 48 hours, but of course there is no rule for this, it is left till they see the fermentation quite complete, at this period all the husks and stalks are upon the top, and the wine below pure, this should be directly run off, for if it is left for a few hours after the fermentation is over the husks will fall in the wine and give it a bitter taste; when the fermentation is done the pure wine is carried into the large tunnels, or on the best estates sometimes, the pressing vat is upstairs above the tunnel and the wine is let to run down a spout into it and by this means is kept warm and the second fermentation goes on more quickly – The pressing Vats are built of large flat stones or Slates done up between with lime or Cement, always of mason work – The Tunnel is a large cask like a puncheon made of chestnut wood and lies on its side, has a door at the bottom to clean out the lees , one to hold 25 pipes costs about £35, a tunnel generally holds from 10 to 30 pipes; from 20 to 30 are thought better than smaller quantities but they are seldom larger than the latter – After the pure wine is run out of the pressing vat the husks and stalks and seeds are pressed with a heavy weight and lever to extract all the juice for in this is the greatest strength and spirituous quality, this is taken to the tunnel and mixed with the other which would be good for little without it, and would not keep body nor colour, for in this also is the tartaric quality, the lees are more or less pressed as the young wine is thought to require it, in a season when there are many green stalks some of the thickest and greenest should be picked out, or it will make the wine green and raw, and consequently will require a longer time to come round.  the wine then remains in these tunnels till taken off by the Merchants in Spring, but if not taken off by Feby or so, it is racked into an empty tunnel from the lees; Mr. F. thinks that when the wine is in tunnel an almuda of brandy p pipe would do it good, and he sometimes does so but it is not the custom, he thinks it helps to fix the colour and  flavour  if the wine is not sold the first year, the farmers rack it off into pipes and brandy and treat it in the same way as the Merchants do here, except that they brandy more strongly by putting in about 4 almudes of brandy p pipe; even then after the first year it is not left in the large Casks but always put in pipes, they all say that port wine does not ripen in the large quantity – In speaking of these points particularly Questn 3, I do not mean that this care to pick off the bad or withered grapes and taking out part of the stalks is always attended to, for many do not, but this is what is done by the best wine makers and in the best districts and what ought to be always done-  On this point the farmers do not speak freely but Mr. F. told us all about it, he says the farmers used to mix the wines very much with honey, treacle, and sugar to give it sweetness in seasons when it was not naturally so, but very few of them are now rich enough to be able to do so, and the demand is so small that the chances are that they may not be able to sell their wine to make it pay – from the poverty the wine of the Douro except in a few favourite districts has fallen off very much in quality – in the time of the Wine Co. Elderberries were forbidden by law, then dogwood was very generally used but has since quite given way to the elderberry, but this is again rather yielding to the more general use of the course black grape No. 4, and to give sweetness they use Jerapiga, which as I have before told you is made by checking the fermentation while the wine is yet sweet by adding about 5 almudes of spirit or more if necessary, the wine in this state eats up so much brandy that it is not afterwards discernable, and from the fermentation not having been complete it requires more afterwards to make it keep, it does not require the best grapes to make this wine but the expence of manufacturing it, makes it expensive about £15 to the farmer- Mr. F. says that wine made rich in any of these ways is never so good and may always be distinguished from a naturally rich wine, yet almost every one uses it in case of need – When the Co. is again established the use of elderberries will be prohibited – The Brandy is all pale and is all made in the wine district, most of the farmers have a small stil to make brandy for their own use, but for the Oporto trade there are people who have considerable distilleries and buy wine for the purpose, white wine makes more spirit than red and better but it is seldom used as it is more scarce and expensive than the red; the better the wine is, the better is the brandy and the greater the quantity yielded but they can’t afford to buy fine wines and generally use those worth £3 p pipe, of this from 6 to 8 pipes are requisite to make one of brandy, this with the expences of making brings the price to the maker to 20 or 25 £ p pipe; since the brandy monopoly of the Wine Co. was done away a great deal of brandy used in Oporto has been imported from France and other places as being better than that of the Douro, this has ruined many of the farmers and manufacturers on the Douro and lessened the demand greatly for the low class of wine used for distillation, this will also be altered by the new wine Co., the strength of the brandy is about 10 OP and up to 30 OP.  the Portuguese think that the stronger it is the better, but the English think that it should not be above 10 OP except in very strong green young wine which will eat up anything – White wine is not much made on the Douro   but when attended to is sometimes tolerably good, it is made exactly in the same way as the red, is made from grapes 9.10.11 selected from among the red, the colour is good, golden but no boiled wine is ever used to make it so, but grape No. 11 is of a magnum bonum colour – no gipsum is used – This wine is little used except among the natives or for making brandy, or for blending with red wine, but this is more expensive and the effect is not so good as when the white and red grapes are pressed and fermented together, it requires spirit quite as much as the red wine, and is otherwise treated exactly in the same way – The Wine Country is extensive, beginning at Mazoã frio a league below Ragoa and extending up the river for 5 leagues, the best wine district is above Ragoa the extent in breadth is from 1 to 2 miles on each side of the river , rather broader on the north side than on the South, the north bank generally grows the finest wine, having a better exposure to the sun, except in a very hot parching season when the grapes grown on the shaded hills are the best, the hill sides grow better wine than the hollows, and the best situations are those exposed to the South- S.W. and S. E. and where the land is of a clay quality, or red clay mixed with large Slatey stones or a red or white gravel; a good soil such as looks likely to grow corn well is not suitable for the Vine – In  a late season on situations with a northern exposure they frequently pluck off the foliage of the vines that the sun may more quickly ripen the grape, the leaves also catch the dew and keep the grape green and moist for a much longer time, but this will only pay in a scarce year – The propping up of the plant should be particularly attended to, to prevent the soil being splashed up in heavy rains onto the grapes, which cannot afterwards be got quit of and of course injures the wine – in the Vineyards they are not at all particular as to the regularity of the plants; they are not in rows or in any form, and vary in distance from each other from one to four feet, if more than the latter they insert a new branch to fill up the space – The workers in the Vineyards now are very badly paid, 4 vintins about four pence a day; in the time of the wine Co. they used to receive 12d or 15d a day – It is thought that nearly one third of the vine lands on the Douro will this year be left uncultivated from the small demand and the poverty of the farmers, they will for some time be very badly off as after the Company most of them cut up the Olive groves to grow vines; In many places I observe them replanting the ground with Olives, but it will be many years before they are as productive as formerly – The quantity of good wine which may be grown on the lands adapted for the vine is about 70.000 pipes not more, and not more than the half of this first class; there is a good deal of old wine in the hands of a few of the richest proprietors but they can’t sell it to pay expences – wine of last years vintage 1837 is in low repute yet the farmers who have good wine are standing out for price, good wine can’t be bought under 5 or 6£ and very good 7 or 8£ p pipe on the farm without the casks, but great quantities will be bought for 4£ at 12 and 18 months credit, credits here are very long, I hear Sandeman’s House seldom buys under 18 months – Tho’ the Merchants think very badly of 37 wine, Mr. F. thinks that on the whole they are better than 36 (but they were terribly bad); he says they are a slow stubborn wine, raw and green, that will swallow and require a great quantity of brandy, and need much treatment and care, and come slowly round, and will never be a fine elegant wine, but from some of the best situations may be a useful saleable wine, but the demand being so small and the farmers so poor they can’t afford to do it any justice in the way of treatment – I think

this is all I have to say about the district of the Douro at present, I shall talk over these subjects with the merchants here and see if I have understood them all but I feel pretty confident I have.  (19th Feby – On my return here I found Mr. Donaldson of “Donaldson Dixon and Co,”, I should not think him a clever man, or very deep or sound in his judgements but is a frank, pleasant man, I sometimes get him to talk of Cape Wine, they expect to increase their trade very much and by care to get quit of the earthy taste on their wine, he says Ministers have given up the idea of equalising the duties on Cape Wine, and abused Ld. Howick for trying to do so – “Henry, Mc Cullagh & Co.”  of Dublin are also agents for their house and he says take 4 or 500 pipes a year, they are also agents for “Kingston, Eagan & Co.-“ & “Knowles, Bold & Co.” of this place, and “Garvey & Co.” of Cadiz or rather Jerez – “Woodhouse” at Marsalla and “Ingham” at Palermo – “Clossman” at Bordeaux – they have nearly a thousand Butts Sherry yearly, but if they can help it they will only deal with a Tory, they wish every Papist and Liberal in h___  In conversation between Donaldson and  Mc Cullagh I caught the names of two merchants in Dublin who are good houses, you had better put down their names in your book –Val. O’ Connor” “Thos. Kelley,” and “Litton” (Cathc) and “Thomson” (Prots) and a man who has very great power Brannan or Branham a wine Cooper which is the same as a Broker, he can sell or prevent being sold any wine he likes, has 5/ p pipe from all the shippers and 5/ more from the Merchants to whom he sells wine; Some of the leading merchants have tried to get quit of the Cooper but have not been successful – “Quinhan,” and “Jas Hammilton “ are also good men – I have been with Donaldson today through his store it contains



about 500 pipes he ships yearly about 150 or 70, his treatment is just the same as others, he says he handles less than most people, his 34’s have from 30 to 36 canãdas brandy, and his 36’s have already 24 canãdas; brandy from 2 to 3 years old and from 10 to 15 OP, he adds 12 per cent yearly to the value of each pipe of wine – Interest 5, loss on lees 4 – cooperage and rent etc 3 percent – I was also in Graham’s store and on asking the question of the Cooper who keeps the accounts found this to be the custom there also – none of the Coopers know the cost of keeping up the stock of pipes (20 Feby I have this morning your letter by Vigo and have time to add little as the express goes off today, I have also that from Dilston and the order for £100 on Lisbon, I have yet nearly £40; I regret extremely to hear such an unfavourable acct of your family, particularly poor Johnny, but children come round wonderfully and I sincerely hope it may be so in his case – I am also vexed to find that the statements in some of my former letters have not been clear – I think I said in one letter “2 ¼ canãdas =1 gallon,” and in a later one “nearer 2 1/8 than 2 ¼ canãdas in a gallon,”  at least so it should have been; whatever seems to you inconsistent or not quite clearly expressed, note to me, and now understanding the subject better I have no doubt I shall get things put to rights – I am sorry to hear your remarks about Nichol I always thought him a confused chap, but should think yet he is honest and upright, does

Kis  ----y blame you as having introduced him,  I am glad to find the Champagne is likely to be approved of, it will be a guide for future action – Old Franklin has come in this morning from Ragõa so I shall have some more talk with him – I dont think I can do any more good here now, if I had been up the river during the time of making and treating the wines I dare say I should have been able to pick up more particulars and minutiae , but at this season the stores of the farmers are all shut and I don’t think I can learn anything more – By the way there is a good deal of talk about the way that Sandeman’s house have been going on for some time past buying at long credits and selling early and lower than other people, they have a large capital employed, but I suspect are not so rich as they are thought in England – Woodhouse is the richest of the English here, many of them lose large sums by gambling, you see them constantly playing at Rondo a chance game for £20 a cast  As far as I can learn here, there is no red wine of good quality grown at St Ubes , or up the country from that, it is almost all white in that country – I shall not be able to find out so much about wine at Lisbon, as there it is scattered all about the country but I will pick up what I can, and see the town, Cintra and St Ubes – the information as to making white wine will be better at Xeres – I shall try to get over Lisbon etc in a fortnight and have the more time in Cadiz and Xeres – my plans for departure are not at all fixed, they will depend quite on the weather, should it continue fine and calm for a few days we may perhaps be able to reach the Steamer from the Foz – Pray remember me to all friends – Yours etc etc G.A.G.


R. Selby Esq. Lisbon 6th March 1838-

Dear Sir, Lest I should be pressed for time at last I shall now put down a few remarks – I hope you received mine from Oporto of the end of Feby, as also that to Dilston from Vigo; sending these letters through Burleigh Street brings postage heavy but that can be settled on my return, and for the present you may probably like to see how I get on when not about business and it saves me writing some things twice which I think is about as foolish as telling a story a second time – The Packets are all in disorder at present from the state of the weather,  the first north will not be for ten days, the one before her from the north never having cast up – I reached this on Sunday and I am shaking myself for a few days before going to St Ubes where I think of spending Thursday and Friday; and Saturday and Sunday at Cintra.  In going to Vigo I took as little money as possible Ellis sending me an order by post to their house at Lisbon, they will give me what I need while here and I expect letters of credit from them to Cadiz and Malaga and I shall carry on my bank notes further as they are portable and good where I shall not so easily get credit, this I expect will take me to Mr Duraud’s, and on leaving him I shall give Graham’s an order on Saml Seddons Esq for the amt. but Seddon is in England and his representative here has not yet heard from Choffey and till then he seems disinclined to honour the order, perhaps he may hear by next post – as the last ship brought no letters for me here I fear both by that and the former have gone to Oporto, in future rather keep them before me than otherwise as a letter in this country can’t be forwarded till the postage is paid, this will be done for me in Porto but in other places may not answer so well – For all sorts of business information here I have two excellent introductions that to Graham’s house and to Mr Shore who is one of the first merchts here and has houses in Cadiz, Malaga, Oporto etc – There is very little to be learned here about the making of white wine, the estates being so small and far between, often thirty miles off, and no fear of anything being done in red wine either at St. Ubes or elsewhere, yet I shall try to see the place and judge myself of its capabilities, this being the case and there being little else to do here, (it is a poor dull place in the way of business and everything else)  I think I had better leave by the Vessel from the north which will call early next week, and turn my time to more account in Cadiz, St Marys, and Xeres, where I may probably find that a fortnight or three weeks may not be misspent.  I shall also try to run up by steamer to Seville which may be called the second Capital of Spain, this will bring my reaching Gib to the first of April, and if I am to be in Perpignan in the beginning of May I shall have little enough time to see two or three places up the east coast.  Your letters do not serve to guide my plans so I take those I think likely to be best and to prove most useful.  You have never mentioned whether or not the Clyde had gone again – There is no Government here at present and things are in a queer way but you will see from the papers – I have seen “Torlades & Co.” connections of Sandeman they are highly respectable people, and can and are willing to be of use to me, they have given me a letter to their house in St Ubes – the other two people to whom I have letters from Shaw are official men and will be much engaged with the present disorder and as my stay will be short, I should only be able to make a formal call and see no more of them, so I shall not trouble, the Vines here are not taken great care of, it is a usual practice to grow corn in the Vineyards and cut it green for food for the cattle in April (7th I have today yours of the 24th ulto wh has been sent from Porto; and which you say is the last to that place – that of the former week is still adrift in the Londonderry –I may perhaps hear at Gib whether the Clyde has passed the ?gut, some vessels have come in here forty five days from Liverpool, and seventeen sail is lost at Gib, and great loss everywhere, so that she may not be so quickly at Port Vendre as usual – I am glad to find that you are all improving in health and that weather and business are coming round again – (10th –I have returned from Setubal where Mr Silva the head of Torlades house there was very kind and attentive – there are no Torlades living Mr. O’Niel is the head of the house here; there is a considerable trade at St Ubes but all in the hands of that house, they have been for a few years making red wine and sending it to England on trial, to London Liverpool and Dublin, chiefly to L’pool for the shipping there they get the best price, last year they sent a hundred pipes on speculation but they find it does not pay well, most of the wine is grown on their own property and made by themselves but when they buy it from the farmers it costs them £6 p pipe and requires 3 years before sending to England, the treatment of the wine is just a copy of that in Oporto, adding from 20 to 30 canãdas brandy, and racking a few times as is it needed they say their wine will last for 10 years and that it requires they should sell it for 18 or 19 £ in England to pay, and that some has been sold in L’pool for that price, it is grown round St Ubes and up the river for two leagues not more, and that if it would pay well and the demand in Engd. increase they could send yearly from 3 to 500 pipes of that quality; but now for the quality – and there I am sure we have nothing to fear, I tasted it frequently both young and ripe in bottle in Mr Silva’s house and am of opinion that if it were not for the sweet wine that is put into it, it would be very flavourless, and even with the large quantity of brandy it has, it is very weak and thin, it has not nearly the body of your second R, I mean your third class – then I think Mr. Silva’s account is perhaps a little too favourable, although he is a very respectable man he may make the best of it, no one here speaks so well of it, I hear that the white wines in this district might be made much better with care and attention than they are at present but they do not think the red could ever be made fit for England – I hear that the only good red wine is grown on a small spot a long way in-land to the north east near Castillo Branco and is brought down at a considerable expence and is only used by some of the first people in Lisbon, the quantity produced is very small – The white wines of the district are chiefly sent to America and cost at the time of shipment about £12 p pipe, the merchants cannot induce the farmers to take care, or be at any expence in making; it is the same with the wool, they will not wash it because they say it weighs better dirty and they can’t be made to understand that the advance in price for the clean would more than compensate for the loss in weight – Silva did not appear to be very sanguine about the success of his wine in Engd. but they are rich people and trade in everything and do not need to care if they only don’t lose – I am going to Cintra but as that wont give me anything to say in the way of business I may close to be sure of the post to Engd.; if Chassey’s people have not advised Seddon here will you see to it, Graham’s House will give me credit and I will leave them an order on Seddons.  I returned yesterday in time to see the revolution the town was full of troops, the Arsenal which is the stronghold was taken after some firing and a few of the troops shot, the soldiers were marched out to lay down their arms, and other troops marched in; the Artillery were all loaded with grape and the gunners with lighted matches, but I can’t give you a correct account as I don’t understand it, and I doubt whether any body else does, it seems that the party which have laid down their arms have made their own terms, and things are likely soon to be worse than ever – shops are all shut and business not thought of – our men of wars boats were and are still ready around to land at a moments notice to protect British property, the town is in terrible confusion P.S. Silva has no regular wine store or establishment, I don’t think their stock room now reaches a hundred pipes, and not all of it fit to send to England – Yours truly G. A. G.


Robt. Selby Esqr. Cadiz 14th March 1838

Dr. Sir,     I wrote to you from Lisbon on the 7th inst. after having seen St Ubes etc – The Iberia did not bring me any letters, but thinking you might have taken a second thought and sent to this place, I adhered to my plan of coming, leaving directions that any letters coming after my departure should be forwarded – I reached this on Monday but found no letters, this is rather awkward for having no introductions to people here, I am rather thrown on my back, but will in some way or other find out what I want – I have been to Port St Mary to see Mr. Kinnell (113 Fenchurch St ) he is agent for “Gargollo” late “Crowley’s” House, he was a fellow passenger from Vigo; he shewed me their wine Store, and I found that it was not large but the wine generally good, they seldom ship sherry till six or seven years old, they do not buy the wine when young, and keep it till old, so I did not learn anything of the treatment of the wine till after three years old after which they do not add any brandy but rack as it may be needed – to make brown sherry he says about two gallons of the boiled wine is enough to give it a good colour, and one gall. to make it golden, to give the wine ripeness he used a few gallons of the Amontiliãdo Sherry, but as this is costly it is only fine wines that can bear the expence, he says much sherry is shipped of from 3 to 4 years old, this is composed of 2-3 and 4 years old with small proportions of wine of a greater age – but of this I shall learn more- St Mary’s is increasing very much it is found to more convenient for shipping wine than Xeres, which is at a great distance from the Port; here they fine with a sort of stone, which looks like pumice stone which I take to be the gipsum you spoke of, it is dissolved in a few gallons of wine, and mixed in the Butt and carrys down all the thickness in the wine:  Graham gave me an order on a house here for £20 and money besides making the order on Seddons about 35 or 40 £, I am not quite sure, it was in Spanish or Portuguese money as well as English – (15th.  I shall close as I intend going per steamer tomorrow morning to Seville for a few days and probably the next packet may bring me some introductions or instructions – I have today fallen in with a Mr. Souter of “Haure’s” House of Xeres and a Mr Hodges of St Marys, a son of Hodges the distiller a partner of Campbell, and a sort of fool – in a short talk I learned that brandy is very high in price here, about 80 dollars or from 18 to 20 £ per Butt new – that young wine from the farmers is worth £5 this year, and in three years the cost of it will be about three times more, without any of the Amontiliado which is added just before shipment, but in small quantities never more than one aroba per butt –(an aroba is about 4 ½ gallons,) the Amontiliado is generally kept old and never brandied,   a good butt of it is worth at present £80 here - The Wine trade in this country is very bad at present, and stocks much too large and the trade has got into so many hands, that the competition has reduced profits except on very fine wines – I think they told me the yearly exportation was about Twenty six thousand Butts, and that in Xeres and St. Mary’s there are Four hundred thousand Butts of wine, but when I see these places I shall learn  with greater correctness – In Cadiz there is little to be learnt, and after the first day nothing to be seen, and Lent puts a stop to all fun so there is little to do in any way:  The heat here is very great during the day – I hope Mrs S and the children continue to gain strength, remember me kindly and believe me Dr. Sir Yours most truly G. A. G.


R. Selby Esq. Cadiz 22nd March 1838

Dear Sir, Since my last to you dated 14th, I have been in Seville, and on my return find that the Steamer has again passed without bringing me any letters wither from London or Lisbon, I don’t now know what to do at all, there must be some mistake – I shall now go to Xeres for two or three days and learn what I can; after which I had proposed going to Gib. on the 26th and I still think I had better do so.  I only fear those letters with the answers for Mr Duraud are those  lost, if so I must set to and make them out for him, but could have done so better when at Oporto – if I have not your instructions as to my plans of procedure I shall try to reach Port Vendre by the middle of April, from Gib. I shall have to keep by one Steamer which calls for a day or two at each of the ports as she goes along, they sail at present not more frequently than once a fortnight – What I have already heard of the Sherry trade agrees so well with Busby, Redding and Ingles who give very full accounts that I suspect I can tell you little more, how is it that no one seems to have known almost anything of the Port trade and the customs up the Douro, even Redding gives little information in that quarter – The last I have of yours is dated 26th Feby – after the receipt of this do not direct any for me short of Perpignan – I have this moment recd. yours of the 17 Feby forwarded from Porto to Lisbon and again here through Graham’s house, the date is old yet it serves to guide me – I go now to the Consul to whom I had an introduction from England from Ld. H. to ask for an introduction to Gordon the Vice Consul at Xeres, as he gave me one to Seville, he introduces me as a friend of Ld. Howick from Northumberld.


R. Selby Esq. Cadiz March 26th 1838

Dear Sir, Since my last to you dated 22nd I have been to Xeres, I crossed the bay early on Friday morning and breakfasted at St Mary’s and when I was standing on the quay talking to Sir Chas Smith who should I meet plump in the face but Mason on his way here, he had left Xeres for good so I did not get his assistance – The Consul Mr Brackenberry was from home when I called so I did not get an introduction, yet I went on chance intending to call on Mr Souter, who was staying here a few days before with Peter Hersnet/Kermet, however I met him on the road coming here, but he desired me to go to their house and get a gentleman to shew me all that was to be seen wh he did, shewing me first their own store, then taking me to Garvey’s, and Gordon’s not Hawthorne’s friends but the Vice Consul and head of the firm “Bigbidder & Co.” who brand “Duff Gordon”, but still distinct from the firm of “Sir Wm. Duff Gordon & Co.” of St Mary’s; Mr. G. went through with me himself and told me a good deal.  I will tell you what I heard, but my opinion is not made up on the matter, having only heard a few accounts to compare with each other – Mr. G. says that till the wine is from 3 to 4 years old they keep it in common Butts, but after this age they keep it in large butts  which contain five or six small ones, it then does not require racking, and when a part is run off to make up wine it is filled up, never taking more than 10 gallons out of one Butt so keeping the quality of their old wine always nearly the same, they put most of the brandy in at first and not at each racking as in Porto – they do not fine at each racking but once or twice at first to clean the wine and once before shipment to make it look well, using this stone powdered and dissolved in wine.  they all say that in fine wine they like very little brandy, I could not learn how much, on this I have my doubts, he says that very fine wine is not shipped till of the average age of eight years – to make the brown wine he says it requires 10 or 12 gallons of the boiled must, of course if the lighter colour is wanted a smaller quantity is requisite, this is added while the wine is in the state of fermentation and goes again through the process along with it. to make a Butt of boiled wine which is more like treacle. five butts are required; fine sherry is not used for this, but wine from the side of the country toward San Lucar on the Guadalquivir Mr. G. makes all his own brandy, I saw two large stills at work one on a new plan invented by a Frenchman, if the spirit comes out under 35 Op it falls back again and is remade, at this strength the spirit is used for blending with the wine, a butt costs him £25 newly made and except for young or course wine it requires keeping for some time; he says seven butts of wine are needed to make one of brandy, it is used pale – a considerable portion of the spirit used at Xeres and St Marys comes from Catalunea it is reckoned very good – When you meet Mason you might learn good deal as he is fresh off the ?vines/vions and has been here for some weeks – I know as much or more about the Port wine and trade than he does, but use your own discretion as to what I say of Sherry – I do not remember Mc Kinnell in London I should think in business he is an overbearing sort of fellow and perhaps windy withall their business had gone down a good deal after Crowley’s death, but lately they have bee making a push to bring it round, by buying a lot of old wines which are very good, but this must cost them much more than if they had bought young and treated themselves, he says they are going to increase their stores very much.  I have forgotten to mention that when at Xeres I walked out for four miles through several of Domeques vineyards and observed that the vines are kept much lower than on the Douro, not above one foot high with one or frequently two branches of 10 or 12 inches, and no props were used except here and there for a young plant, the ground round the plants was much more pitted for the reception of water during the winter than in the Douro, every plant has a pit, and they are about four feet apart and tolerably regular, the hills not being steep they do not require terraces as on the Douro – the people are now employed in filling up the pits and digging over the Vineyards, the land was very dirty – in every Vineyard there is one or more small house for pressing the grapes, the troughs here are made of wood not of stone and when pressed the wine is put into Butts to ferment, which goes on for a long time, a few months, instead of being finished in a few days as in Portugal – I observed also that dung was used and the husks and lees of wine – the butts are made of oak and are washed and scalded and steeped with inferior wine before being used as in Oporto; on my return here I found Mason who intends going with me to Gib and then Steam Home – should there be any Steamer or sure conveyance to Bordeaux it would be well to send me out a suit of clothes – they get worn out very fast with the work – I can leave my old and winter things to come home by the Clyde from Pt. Vendre – Mason has credit here and often if I choose to let me have money, I shall take advantage of it and get twenty pounds worth in case I should run short they say Gib is a terribly expensive place, and the steamer charge for the passage to Barcelona twenty pounds, I shall give him an order upon you for what I receive (£20-) I find that my £20 Bank of Engld notes are worth nothing here I must get quit of them at Gib, but am told that there these will be a discount – Sovereigns are a great source of trade for the Captains, they bring them

out and sell at a profit and buy up Spanish dollars to take home, they are of the best silver and almost always sell at a premium, the English sovereign and Spanish dollar are almost the only coins which will bring their full value in any part of the world – (30th – Mason is just going by the Steam to England and will tell you how that to Gibraltar humbugged us, two letters by her were sent on to Gib by Brackenberry thinking I had gone – I have been again at Xeres with Mason for two days of which more next letter – Yours etc G. A. G.


R. Selby Esq Gibraltar 2nd April 1838

Dr Sir, I almost cried with joy on reaching this place last night on hearing and seeing English voices and faces again, I find your letters dated March 17th and 24th and one from Dilston, yours of the 10th to Lisbon which you refer me to I have not received and am not likely to do so now, if it contains the matter for the Durauds it is rather vexing, but I can do without it – The accounts in your letters are very satisfactory.  I care not what the London trade think or say, and will do my best to put confidence into those at Perpignan, your fears about Mason are before this at an end, he was kept all the time at Xeres by the bad weather, I was for two days with him at Mr. Cranston’s of “James Gordon’s “ house, who I suppose you know lives now in London, this may not have been quite according to your wishes but neither Mason nor I had anything else to do.  They have the largest store there and it seems to be well managed, they do not ship good wine under 8 years old, the fermentation goes on for a long time in the butts not in the large quantity, the boiled wine is put into the must and fermented with the wine, it is also boiled must, not boiled wine therefore the quantity of boiled substance cannot be exactly known, all the casks are left on a large ?ullage and with the bungs out.  Their ways are very different from those at Porto; they do not use any gypsum in the fermentation, the stone is a sort of fullers earth, it is mixed with the eggs for fining, it fines very quickly but carries down a great deal of wine, Mason was very friendly and spoke very favourably to Cranston of Masden – I see your name in their books in times past – I do not know who are Mr. Whiting’s friends not having got the introductions, but have one from Torlades to a Mr. Anderson here – I believe there is no steamer for Marseilles till the 10th and as the wind is always Easterly it is out of the question trying a sailing Vessel, but that on the 10th will reach Port Vendre about the 20th they sail all night and remaining during the day in each port as they come to them – I observe your remarks as to Sir James but am at a loss how to go about coal work, Carr’s people will not take contracts, so one can do nothing but make them acquainted with the name and character of the coal and get them to address ships to “Carr’s Hartley”; I also mark what you say of the Cette House and shall act as circumstances guide – I do not quite understand what is the business of “Bergasse & Cie.” of Marseilles in England, he does not send his wine there to be shipped to India, and does not mean to send it for the English market for if so we can have nothing to say to it – I suppose I may call and see him when I visit Marseilles; when there I shall learn what can be done in the white wines of that district, from thence shall I have time to visit Lyons before crossing to Bordeaux etc.  I may just remark that the Sherry trade seems to be almost in as bad a state as the Port, over stocked and underselling, little good to be done except in really fine wines – I agree with you in thinking, that if we move at all we should start with a new sort of white wine and above all with a new name, the worst is there are so many varieties of white already – I have little to say this week you will see my travelling history, and the hardships which I like a fool brought on myself, when I send home the log – I have seen Mr. Anderson he is a plain business man, and willing to talk – I have got one of my £20 notes exchanged – I have seen Haire whom I knew at Oporto, his Father has business houses in several places, he is to give me introductions to the British Consul at Tetuan and to a rich merchant there, young Bell of Newcastle and I are going over for a few days, it looks like having to cross a large river – I am glad you have all so well recovered – my Mother seems to be very poorly remember me to Mr Bacon and the Old folks.  Yours etc G. A. G.


R. Selby Esq - Gibraltar   11th April 1838

Dr. Sir, This week I have little to say, I enclose a letter for the Old lady which after reading, please forward, A Spanish steamer has passed to Cadiz which is expected to return tomorrow or next day on her way to Marseilles I hear a fearful account of the accommodations on  board from some gentlemen who came down with her, She needs about twelve days to get as far as Pt Vendre as she calls at every little place She can get into, and stays two or three days in some of the most important and as this is holy week and holydays are frequent she may be detained longer than usual, this will keep me rather later  than we wished but it cant be helped she is the first since I came to Cadiz, and the Factiosoes are too numerous to admit of travelling by land even from Barcellona where they stop three days – unless Blaydon has been at Port Vendre for some time, he must be making slow progress – The trade here seems to be a very strange one, smuggling is the regular business of the place and almost every merchant is openly connected with it, and the boats make no secret of their profession and all carry the English flag, many of them carry several guns and some as many as a hundred and fifty men and bid defiance to the Spanish Guarda Costa what fools the Spanish are not to have a treaty with Engd. as well as laying such heavy duties and prohibitions on our goods which encourages smuggling – I have had some trouble to get my second Bank of England not off nothing but Spanish money is used here, and if remittances are not wanted to be made, it is not easy getting exchanged – I shall write as soon as I get settled in the South of France, till then if all goes right farewell – Yours sincerely G. A. G.


R. Selby Esq. Perpignan  27th April 1838


Dr Sir, Our Steamer was from the 14th to the 25th in reaching Port Vendre, where I was found by Monsr. Mas who gave me your letters of the 4th, 14th, and 16th, and one from Dilston, and I have since yours of the 20th their contents are too long to say much on at present, but the information is most satisfactory and I shall do my best to make it useful – At Barcellona where we were four nights, I asked after Mons. Soulėre and found he had left and his house broken up, I have not mentioned him here, but the remark in your letter to Mr Duraud confirms what I have heard – It seems he has formed an exception to the passage, and has not “flourished like a green Bay tree” – At Pt Vendre I found the Clyde she had only been in for three days, and from the port being so full of craft on account of the late bad weather she had not been able to begin discharging, I spent the day with M Mas and was joined in the evening by the Old Gentleman and Eugėne who were as kind as possible, we spent a considerable time yesterday in the storehouse tasting all the wine especially that intended for the present shipment, comparing it with wine pipes left from the last cargo – I think it has decidedly improved and is very good indeed, we fixed that two Fondres of Sixty five pipes each, one very rich and the other dry are to be blended with two others M. Mas is to try a pipe with a velt (velt 1 2/3 gallons) of Banyuls wine added, and another pipe with two Velts, we are to return next week and fix which is the best, I think the whole cargo will be very nearly of the same quality – I find the nine Fondres in the new store full of wine of 1836, as well as the other side of the house being filled with pipes of the same year, that I think remarkably good, and only wants two years more, a little brandy and a few velts of Banyuls to put it beyond a further wish – I find of this hard on 4.000 pipes, I proposed to them to add part at least of the Banyuls and brandy in the Fondres now rather than just before shipment – I also advise strongly keeping the Banyuls to a considerable age, as by keeping I find the character alters very greatly and its effect would be very different.  I have been exceedingly pleased with what I have seen, I think you will find on the arrival of the Clyde that you have never imported so fine a wine, and the wine of 36 is I am sure to speak modestly equal to any young wine I have tasted in Oporto – that is not enough, it is better – I have seen the large brand it is to be used for this Cargo, it will do well – we came here in the evening in the carriage and found a great household, my old friend Justin very glad to see me, but his wife does not come down I hear she has been very unwell for some time – none here speak any English except Eugene and M. Jaune a very little, the latter seems well satisfied with the information I have brought him, and the old gentleman’s numerous questions are easily answered – I shall take opportunities to set their minds at rest as to the state of the home market, they know from a house here that Buison can do nothing – I was disappointed in not meeting Blaydon – in the Clyde, the present Capt seems a decent fellow but not a very sharp man – the young man for whom the rum was, is not now with M. Mas, he will settle with me for it, and I had great pleasure in helping him to find it after the Custom house had treated me so kindly – the bottle of brandy I brought from the Douro is found to be of nearly equal quality to that used here perhaps stronger, it is 28 by their measure, I suppose 30 Op by the English, , the weather here for the last week has been very unfavourable, with cold frosty winds; they say that on the coast of Spain there will be no grapes, and here on exposed situations the young shoots are all dead, but at Masden very little harm is done, but the next must now be a very short vintage, I hear snow has also fallen in Lisbon a thing rarely heard of, this will tell a tale in the Douro – They have spoken to me of a Merchant of London connected with the Arcangle trade I think the name is Brand, he had visited them here while spending the winter in the country, he wished to have sent to London direct from them a cask of Masden – I saw no objection to its being sent by Clyde, if it and the invoice were delivered through you and in your name, but not otherwise or at other than the regular private price – Eugene advises if I wish to visit both Marseilles and Bordeaux, that I should go to the former by sea from Pt Vendre, and come across by Montpillier Toulouse etc he still intends to visit Engd when his father goes to Paris, the time is not fixed but he thinks that they may probably leave this by the end of May – I observe Harris’ Circular which speaks truth – I have also the Queen’s decreement the Royal Wine Co. which has not very much in it, except restricting the quantity to be shipped, the duty for themselves of 400 rees is nothing; I think the change cannot by any chance do us harm and I see several reasons for it doing us good, especially now when that country is in such a rapidly declining state, and have been using that as a ground of argument with Eugene  The appearance of the country here is much the same as other wine districts – in the Vineyards I observe they plant with greater regularity which enables them to do a considerable portion of the work with horses, as we do among turnips which is better and cheaper than by the hand; they prune the Vines much lower to which I see no objection if they have not heavy rains to splash the dirt up and give the wine an earthy taste – I have already been introduced to your friend General Castillan  - I hope old Mrs. Jackson may come about again but much cannot be expected at her time of life – I have given our card to a Mr Joakin Ferers a merchant of some respectability in Malaga and connected with a house in Marseilles, he was of some service to me and may perhaps call in London.  Yrs G. A. G.


Robt. Selby Esq. Perpignan  2nd May 1838

Dr Sir, To begin where I left off I was equally pleased with my visit to St Laurent as at Pt. Vendre, I found the wine of 36 of very nearly the same quality as that at the latter place, perhaps a shade dryer but as it will go to Pt. Vendre as soon as the Clyde has made room for it, it will receive a small quantity of Banyuls wine, they had put part into 40 or 50 new Hogsheads on which I observed a taste of the wood, I got them to open several of them and found them all alike, they are to be put into a great Fondre with wine of 37 which will put them all right, but it gave me a good opportunity of holding forth on the subject of seasoning the casks well before putting any of our wine into them if they can do nothing else they must buy the inferior wine of the country for the purpose – I have also spoken to M Jaune and have no doubt it will not take place again.  Another thing strikes me which is , that the store houses here always seem dirty and full of dust, while those at Xeres were kept as clean as a dining room, it is true that dirt outside does not affect the wine inside the casks, but one is apt to think that when things look slovenly that some things may be done in a slovenly manner- I am also satisfied with the quality of the wine of 37 which is there, this you have not seen of course, it is much better than I expected to find it, the color is beautiful with fine flavour and aroma, it has perhaps a little less substance that that of 36, but with good treatment, a little good old brandy and old Banyuls I think the quality will be such as to induce us to wish that we had two instead of one thousand pipes of it, also before its time for shipment comes it might be blended with the last thousand pipes of 1836 – I find there is altogether about 5.500 pipes of which one is of 37 and another thousand of 1835, leaving 3.500 of 36 – The wood is ready for the new Store which is to be made in the open yard at St Laurent and is to be gone on with forthwith, it will hold a considerable quantity of wine, and the four new fondres which are to be put up in addition to the four there already are made, after this is done and things seem to go on well in Engld. the Old Gentleman intends building a wood yard and places for the Coopers, pipes etc in an open space outside the present walls, and make the place used for these purposes at present behind the Stewart’s House into another Store which will also be a great addition – He also intends to erect a large building at Masden but as the next Vintage cannot be otherwise than small and most likely bad he does not mean to take any steps during the present season.  The young wood of every vine between this and St Laurent is dead – but their crops of corn there and about Blaise look very fine, at that place also there are three good Fondres of good wine – At Masden I found the 37 wine very good, that at Bages I did not like so much but M Jaune has since told me that it is not so far advanced as the others, it wants a racking and has only a small portion of its brandy which probably makes all the difference – I have every where found a decided difference in favor of the wine which has been for a few months in the Fondres, over that in pipes, the condition is always better and I think the body greater with more aroma I approve of them very much; we were very glad to find at Masden and Bages that the Vineyards had escaped almost uninjured, this is from the land lying higher  the low lands are quite gone, so I still hope we may have a little good wine, and for the present, quality is of more consequence to us than quantity – Most of my lectures are delivered to M Jaune whom I find a knowing old chap, he comes in every evening and with the old gentleman in a corner we get on very well I have once or twice mentioned white wines but they do not speak freely, I am to have a letter to Mr A Duraud at Montpellr.  I shall see what wine he has in store and get a notion of its quality, and when you and the Durauds meet in London you can argue the matter with them if you think right – Eugene thinks of Visiting Scotland while in Engd. We go again to Pt. Vendre tomorrow to remain for a few days to see the Clyde loading ( May 6th  We returned from Pt. Vendre where we had been for three days and where I recd. yours of 28th   I wonder you had not my last from Gib – We got them set to work loading, they run off a fondre into pipes in a day – M. Duraud proposed marking the pipes taken from the fondre which is thought a little better than the other SO and the others S, but this I objected to, if we think there is any difference it is useless publishing it to all the trade it only makes all desirous to have that mark and those who do not get it may think that they have got a second class wine, so they are all to be marked SO – the difference between the Vats will be very small, the large brand looks well, but from a little , but from a little uneveanness the cask heads it is not always easy to get them to make every letter in the wood distinct – the Clyde cannot be out of port before the middle of the month – M. D intends writing to you to try to make terms with the owners to send her to Archangle to bring a cargo of timber to Pt. Vendre and then home with the next shipment of wine – The Capt tells me he had last year to Newcastle £4.12. – for Petersburgh standard hundred, this may be a little guide for you – If a shipment is made in Autumn I find there will still remain 200 pipes of the old wine, I would advise blending this with 1836 for the succeeding cargo to keep the qualities as eaven as possible, or if trade does not require another cargo this autumn and the whole remains till Spring I would blend a portion of 36 in the whole of it – when the old Gentleman heard of the quantity of brandy in Port wine, he asked me if I would advise trying a part of this cargo with a greater quantity to see if it would take better in Engld.,  to this I said flat no. giving as reasons that tho’ the English taste had been for strong wines it was fast changing and that it was better to let them come to the taste for our wine than to try by imitating Port which was fast falling into disuse to meet their’s – and that I was sure that our delicate wine would not bear or be improved by a great quantity of spirit like the course wine of Portugal, and that the greatest reason for the Portuguese adding so much spirit was that without it scarcely any of their wine would keep for twelve months – I was delighted to have set before me every day at dinner some of the old wine which I have heard you speak of, which has been forty years in their Cellar without ever having had a drop of brandy in it; it is soft and delicate but wonderfully strong – I am very sorry to say all the old brandy is finished, that they have now is little more than a year old which is much too young I have been lecturing on this subject, they have Banyuls to last for six or seven years, so that will get into fine state – I think there is no use for the present in badgering  them to do more than they are doing with the prospect of a small Vintage, M. Duraud intends to buy up the finest wines to keep going on with, and hinder other parties getting hold of them, then when we have good proof in London of increasing demand, renew your urging them to advance, in making and procuring larger quantities of wine, raising new buildings etc etc – I have received for the rum £4.13.2 (fs  118.7.8) I have taken no money for myself here, but orders on Marseilles and Bordeaux – I go to Pt. Vendre tomorrow with M. Gassand to be ready for the steamer for Marseilles, if letters come here for me they will be sent to meet me at Toulouse, if you need to write again I shall call at the Post Offices at Toulouse and Bordeaux- M. D has given me a job at Marseilles, to see the wine and store of a man who makes imitation of Port, I am to give judgement on the matter – farewell my next may probably contain a lecture to you on future prospects – G. A. G.

P. S. Dear Bacon – Will you get my house swept and garnished – viz. get some sort of camp for me to sleep on and some things to lay over me I have hardly seen a carpet or bed hanging since leaving Engld. and see little use for such things at least until cold weather returns – a few chairs chest of drawers etc – I can greet with Mr Cameron for a while till things go into order – I think there are no shutters to my bedroom windows, get some green things to keep the sun out, or you will have me sleeping at my desk instead of in bed – you had better eat up the jam I left if you have not done so already it will grow dry in hot weather – I never felt cold so much in England as I have done in coming from the South here, but the weather is now becoming warm again Yours afftly G.A.G.


Robt Selby Esq. Marseilles  12th May 1838

Dr. Sir, My last to you was from Perpignan dated 6th , we remained at Port Vendre till the evening of the 8th , They were proceeding with the shipment of the wine, and were filling the fondres again from the pipes and some from St. Laurent – What I see to fear most in this operation is not at present but some years hence – I think there will be found to be a want of general superintendence – M. Duraud and M. Jaune are the only two who both understand and pay attention to the wine business, and they are both old men and in a few years cannot be expected to move about the country as will be necessary, and neither of the young men give their mind to it at all. Eugene is always in his workshop and dislikes business and only writes a letter sometimes because his father asks him to do so – and Justin is a sensible sort of chap and likes to walk and ride about among the flocks and herds, and scarcely ever looks into a wine store and seldom goes to Pt. Vendre – The two old gentlemen do very well at present, although one sometimes finds a few casks tasting of the wood or in which there is a little fermentation going on, which a racking in time would cure, but a very few years as well as telling upon them will also make a great alteration in our trade, the quantities of wine to be bought will be much greater, shipment, removing of wine from one store to another and to Pt. Vendre, and all the minor work of cooperage, racking and attending to, will in proportion increase, which require not only though and care but great bodily exertion, to keep all right, and keep one operation from running foul of another; it is like the turnip working, tho’ every person understands his particular part perfectly, if there is not a general superintending eye to guide the whole, all will soon get into confusion, and there it is much more difficult than at Oporto where all the wine is together and one person may see and direct all at once, as in Rousillon distances are so great that it not only requires much locomotion, but also more contrivance to arrange the movements of the wine to and from different places at the proper time etc – All this you no doubt see as well as myself – I only mention it again to urge you to send your son into France with as little delay as may be proper, for I am sure before he has age, discretion and experience enough to undertake such a thing the want will be felt  and it seems to me that he is the person on whom it should fall, for if ( as I see is the case) the young men do not naturally incline to such work, men in their station will never turn to it against their will, at least to do it properly -  the first step towards qualifying your son for it is of course a thorough acquaintance with the French language I feel myself the great inconvenience that the want of it is – Since writing the above I have been in a most iniquitous place, the manufactory of Mons. Grousset wh. Mr. Duraud wished me to visit ( and into which I obtained admission by the application of the house of Duraud here to a second house)  He makes wine of every sort that is grown in Europe his trade has formerly been with America and Brazil but he now intends trying Engd., the establishment is very large he has 250 fondres besides great stores of casks, he used his tongue much more freely than a man of discretion should have done, he knew only that I was from London and not that I was connected with the trade or the Durauds, a young gentleman who went with me spoke English, so if at all at a loss I could make myself sure on any point, he showed me Port intended for Engld. and asked what I thought of it, I told him it was not dark or rough enough for Engld., he said he could easily give to both – the Madeira of several sorts I think resembled that sent to us and was his best wine – he asked if I knew a wine called Masden in England, I answered I had seen it, but it was not very much drank and was rather dull of sale, he had heard it was more liked than Port, and had just made a thousand pipes fifteen days before! which he intended to send in a few weeks – I said I had heard Masden was a private property and in Engld. it was not legal for one person to  take another persons mark or name, he said he knew that and was going to call in “Imitation de Masden” and put his name on the casks, and that “the casks were exactly the same as Mr. Duraud’s for he had got one stolen from his store for a pattern”, he showed me two sorts one was terribly poor and thin, the other much richer and stronger but having been recently made I cannot possibly say what it will turn to – I can swear to brandy, boiled wine and some drug being in the mixture – I told him the wine trade was so dull in Engld. I did not think it would sell, but he means to try so keep a look out in the Docks, he has some houses with great Vats so much heated that I could not go in, this is to make red wine white, he shewed me a large room full of the things he uses to give color flavour and smell, there were casks and bottles of all sorts, and roots, bark and seeds and many casks of different sorts of powdered substances, in another place I saw great boiler full of molasses – I saw them making Champaign with gass – They had a great number of casks marked Cassus but this I did not taste Some time since one of his men went to the top of one of these large Vats in the heated houses, with a lighted candle, which ignited the gass, which the great heat was sending from the wine, also I suppose the spirit was evaporating; in a moment the great Vat exploded and killed the man and shattered all the other vats in the house and injured the walls and house very much – I have since heard that he was very poor and always expected to fail but lately two bankers have given him help and now he is thought good, but they keep him from going so fast as formerly, he at one time had 600 men connected with the establishment now he has only 200 regularly employed; I am at a loss how to write to Perpignan about it – I learn that all the coal merchants here who supply the Steamers take contracts for coals which Carr’s people will not do and I have little chance of finding out the merchants who only bring a chance cargo, so I think there is little probability of my doing anything in that way – everyone here says they shall not need English coal much longer, they have found and are working a large quantity in the Languedoc which is likely to answer well for steam purposes, they are now engaged in making a railway to carry it to the sea it will then be sent in boats here and to Toulon or where ever it may be wanted, as far as I can learn there is too much truth in it – a gentleman I have met at Mr. Bergasse’s says coal can seldom be sold here for more than 35 fs per ton now one could scarcely get them out to this place or Toulon under 20/ p ton with this the prime cost will bring them to 28s/8 so there is almost nothing left for profit it would be an unsafe speculation to ship a consignment it would only answer were you sending a ship out in ballast, Mr. B. shewed me a letter he had lately from you, I do not yet know about the asphaltum but he will let you know – I understand the district of the Languedoc had suffered considerably, he shewed me his red wine, it is clean and good of the sort but thin and clarety, but pleasant and good for a hot country I told him it would never be drunk in Engld., his Cassus is pleasant but it is so long since I tasted ours that I cant make the comparison, he seems to have no white wine like Madeira in his stock – I go tomorrow to Toulon for a day or two – I shall return here and see Bergasse again and get my passport for the interior (they make one pay money in Spain but they give more bother here) and start for Montpellier – I suppose in a month I shall be in Paris and soon after in England – I have a letter from the house of “August Duraud” to a house in Toulon to obtain for me admittance to the arsenal and Dockyard there – I am glad to learn Mr. Jackman is recovering – do not tell Mrs. S. what I have been here advising you to do with J  for fear she scrimp me of ?grog/proy next time I dine with her with kind remembrances to all from G. A. G.


R. Selby Esq Marseilles 17th May 1838

Dr Sir, Having returned from Toulon I find your letter of the 5th to Perpignan forwarded to me here, but the one promised the next day has not reached me – its contents are satisfactory as far as they go, I think with you that the time will come – I have found Toulon well worth seeing, which I did by the help of “ Messrs  Giran and Cie” friends of “Messrs A Duraud and Cie ” here, but there is no business in it, and the government coal contract is held by the same people as that here, “Messieurs Daniel or elle and Cie”- I am obliged to remain here for two days on account of want of room in the Diligences to Nismes or Montpellr.  I have not yet noticed what you say of the Copes of Manchester, I think so far as regards them you have done well, but the next step will need caution, Mr. Duraud more than once spoke to me of Liverpool wondering that the wine should take so slowly there, if a person is found to conduct the business in Manchester, it may be considered whether the same engine would, or would not, have power to work both places, for both are alike in want of being properly attended to, but I fear such a person will not be easily met with, it would not only require a person who understands the business, and of considerable activity, but in whom one could place great confidence, for if he did not turn out to be just the man we want we might have difficulty in getting rid of him; it is clear something must be done, and quickly but not hastily, much depends on the man intrusted with the work, it is rather a pity that Copes had used all the crusted wine that was at Manchester for without some of that a beginner can expect to do little – I have seen Mr. Bergasse twice since my return and breakfasted with him this morning meeting his brother and some other gentlemen of this town, and a cousin of his a New York merchant, he shewed me the copies of his letters to you and yours to him, it seems reasonable that he should wish to ship direct to the Mauritius without the interference of other houses here, they seem to be very reasonable straightforward men of business, and I think if you see the thing is likely to answer your purpose you will find no difficulty in making proper terms with them –I wished to learn from him the names of the principal Mauritius wine houses, thinking it would be of use to you, if you fix to take it in hand but he does not know them – he shewed me wine of six years old which had been to Calcutta and back in excellent condition – his Champaign is not strong but is pleasant. well flavoured wine – I did not before understand how it is made – they take the juice of red grapes just pressed, before fermentation has taken place and blend it with white wine leaving them to ferment together and adding from 8 to 10 or 12 per cent of sirup of sugar with more or less brandy as may be suitable for the market for which it is intended – they have all heard here that you had a trial with a person who used your brand, and that you gained the point – I told them it was not legal and that everyone venturing on the like would be treated in the same way. Yours etc etc G. A. G.


R. Selby Esq Toulouse 25 May 1838

Dr. Sir - I have reached this place by Nismes - Montpellier – Cette – Bezier and Carcassonne, have called on M. Seruiglia and found your letters of the 5th and 10th inst. both having been to Perpignan, unfortunately it is now too late for me to act as you propose in these letters, my departure from Perpignan seems to have been earlier than you expected but having given them all the information I could I did not see that it was of any service remaining longer I at first thought of going to Marseilles by land but the Durauds advised me not as I intended to cross the south again and not proceed straight to Paris by Lyons, but I did not wish to miss Bordeaux – it is now too late even by writing to send the old pipes of wine as the Clyde must be off some days since, and the chances are that the family has also left by this time for Paris – The plan you mention for a trade in small things may answer pretty well but as it is also too late for that by the present Clyde I shall not write to Perpignan of it, as you also know by my letter from Marseilles that I should not receive these in time, you may have written to them yourself I have spoken to Mr Seruiglia of clover seeds, but shall see him again and get prices and particulars – I was for a day at M'Pellier where I saw Mr. Achille twice, the next day he drove me in his carriage to Cette where we saw through all his wine stores and remained all night, he is very willing that we should try his wine, he shewed me Madeira four years old which was not at all bad, I think considerably cleaner than that we have at home but I have little confidence in my judgment of white wines, he says that three or four years hence he will be able to ship about 250 pipes yearly of equal quality – I understood from him that he could ship his best in quantities at 200 fs p pipe of 60 velts, somewhere about 91 gallons – I thought it something too high, this would make it stand us about £40 duty paid, or 20/ per dozen, yet if he were seeing that quantities were to be taken he might take less – I think we should have a couple of pipes sent us of two of the best sorts, to serve as a guide and a sample, it may as well be done at once – I think it is a wine that we might sell a good deal of in a quiet way but there is no chance of ever raising an operation in it anything like the other as one cannot prevent any other person shipping the same sort of wine – I can’t see any use in Adolph stickling about the thing, if there are three profits taken out of it, it wont be worth having – he has a wine like light Mozelle very pleasant for drinking out of tumblers at dinner but it would not stand the English duty, they ship red wine to Jersey and Gurnsey to be mixed and sent to Engld. as Port, it is very inferior stuff – his managing man told me that Rosenthale went through every store with a bottle of Masden in his pocket tasting all the wines to find something like it, but could find none and went without buying a pipe – I start tomorrow for Bordeaux I may have occasion to write before leaving which, you have  no doubt written to Perpignan as to the price of the Brandy – remember me to all yours etc G. A. G.


R. Selby Esq. Bordeaux 31st May 1838

Dear Sir, I have this time little to tell you except that tonight I shall be on my way to Paris by way of Rochfort, Larochelle, Nantes, Tours, Orleans etc  If you have any instructions for me write to meet me at Paris, as I know the place well I think I have nothing to keep me long there – on reaching this town I found your letter of the 16th helped by Bacon and Mr Cameron for which thank them – The sale to Basil ?B/Woodde augers well and will tete a tete among the trade when it becomes known – I have called twice on Mr. Laroze without having seen him he is from home for some days – I have seen Mr. Chas Balzuerie and had some general talk, not of much importance – Also Mr. Beyermanne, (a friend of Mr. Duraud) from whom I have received Four hundred francs (fs 400) on account of Mr. Durauds’ order: I have seen Judd several times, he is very friendly and shewed me their stores which are very large, he gives a good account of trade here, at dinner, at his brother in law’s Mr. Scott the Consul he spoke very highly of Masden and your operation to Mr Barton and some others – I have not seen his Partner Mat. Johnston he is in England at present I hear the other House of Walter and David Johnston have sent to London 35.000 bottles of wine for the couronnement of the Queen, which they say “is an act of good administration”- They wonder here very much how Clossman sells so much wine in Engld.  they say he buys wine here that other houses dare not venture on:  I am sorry to hear that in a short time a higher rate of duty almost amounting to a prohibition is likely to be laid on English cottons, as well in the unwrought as in the wrought state – and here they fear that England will ruin the duty on wine in return, and are petitioning the French Government to be cautious – With respect to the brandy from Port Vendre.  I suspect there is no chance of their being able to supply it unless it is shipped from Cette to be reshipped from Port Vendre – Mr. Duraud has this year given an order for a large quantity of brandy to be made in the Languadoc for his own use, that quantities made in Rousillon last year having been so small, and the Vineyards which grow the wine for brandy making having been almost entirely destroyed this year by the cold weather – I hear there is also considerable harm done in the Vineyards of the country and in the Medoc – The Sauterne wine is grown to the Southeast of this, and they have many other very fine wines, Hermitage, Barsack etc – I do not fill a letter to the Old lady so quickly in this country as in those more outlandish but will try to send one soon  I expect to be in London in three weeks, till then farewell yours most truly G. A. Grey











































Rees The real (meaning: "royal", plural: reais later becoming réis) was the unit of currency of Portugal from around 1430 until 1911.


the almude is an obsolete unit of measurement of volume used in Portugal . An almude was equivalent to  12 canadas


The canada was the fundamental unit of liquid volume of the ancient Portuguese Measurement System. It was equivalent to 4 pints



A drink made of wine, most commonly port, mixed with hot water, spiced and sugared

Jerapiga A liqueur made from partially-fermented malt or wine found mainly in Portugal.
In July 1836, radicals were elected from Porto. When these deputies arrived in Lisbon, they were met by demonstrations supporting their cause. The following day, the moderate liberal government collapsed and, in September, the radicals, led by Manuel da Silva Passos, formed a new government. The actions of the radicals resulted in a violent reaction from the moderates, who saw their power threatened .

Milrees: One thousand réis


The Portuguese  version of the Testoon was valued at eighteen pence in 1686 but it is clear that the value of the Testoon varied, and it is probably best to consider it in general as simply a "higher denomination silver coin".

Ballick: May refer to Baltic oak


Baron Ribaira de Sabrosa.  In 1838 was he Minister of War and interim Foreign Minister and Minister of Marine.
John George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham also known as "Radical Jack" and commonly referred to in Canadian history texts simply as Lord Durham, was a British Whig statesman and colonial administrator, sent to The Canadas in 1837 to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Lower Canada Rebellion.
Present day names would seem to be Regua, Lamego, Mesão Frio and Ruivais.  Castanheiro has stayed the same.

St Ubes: Now known as Setúbal

Foz do Douro is located in the western part of Oporto, next to the mouth of the Douro river and the Atlantic Ocean.

Fondres: A large oak or chestnut cask used for aging wine (mostly in Provence and Alsace), with a capacity between 3,960 to 9,240 gallons.
165 Cubic Feet of timber Being Equal to the St. Petersburg Standard Hundred
Stickling: To argue or contend stubbornly, especially about trivial or petty points
Lord Howick: Henry Peter Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux (1778–1868) Lord Chancellor
Note. Text highlighted in green indicates words difficult to transcribe accurately.