Styles of Port

RED PORTS – made from red grapes, initially aged in barrel for a short period, then aged in bottle

Vintage Port Grapes from one harvest, bottled after 2 years in barrel. The big producers usually ‘declare’ three vintages per decade. Smaller producers may declare more. Usually the finest port that producer will make.

Single Quinta Vintage Port A vintage port made from the fruit of one farm (Quinta). Some producers are making premium Single Quinta ports at a higher level then their vintage port.

Late Bottled Vintage Port Grapes from one harvest and traditionally supposed to be vintage in style. Big producers are usually little more than single harvest ruby port. If it has a driven cork, it is a proper LBV, if it has a cork stopper it is the ‘single harvest ruby’.

Crusted Port The wine from several harvests blended together and bottled to do long term ageing in bottle.

Ruby Port Red port, usually blended from numerous harvests

TAWNY PORTS – made from red grapes with extensive barrel ageing

Colheita A tawny port from one harvest, aged in barrel. Will have a bottling date (very important) and has to be aged for seven years minimum.

Tawny A blend of different ages of tawny port, aimed at a low price point.

Age statement Tawny Not the actual age of the port, but a ‘target age’.

GARRAFEIRA – A rare type of port, associated with Niepoort. 

This style of port initially has extended maturation in barrel, before being transferred to large glass demijohns. The dates of transfer are important.


A style initially developed by Croft and Pocas, technically a ruby port, but with the skins taken away earlier so there is less colour extraction.

WHITE PORT – made from white grapes

There are a wide variety of styles of white port, from sweet through to dry and some with excessive ageing. As they get very old, they get darker and it may be difficult to see if it is an old white or an old red port, as the latter get lighter.