Patrick Delaforce & Ken Baldry

'The Delaforce Family History' Part One - Certainties
Chapter 1 - The Port Wine Shippers

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Chapter 1

The Port Wine Shippers

The history of the Port Wine Shippers is the start of Patrick's story. John Fleurriet Delaforce 1805-1881 and his younger brother George Frederick Delaforce, originally living in Southwark, decided about 1830 to enter the wine business. They were both sons of John Delaforce born in 1781 in London. So John went in 1834 to Oporto, in the north of Portugal to join, and later to manage Martinez, Gassiot Port Wine shippers (Gassiots being well-known Huguenots). George Frederick stayed in London, and his marriage certificate to his second wife showed him to be a Wine Merchant. Presumably John produced the port wines and George Frederick sold them, from 30 Savile Row, London, as England was the major market at that time. John died in 1881 and George Frederick in 1885. George Henry 1844-1912 was John's second son and in 1868, aged 24, founded the family firm. Before the end of the century three Gold Medals were gained at successive Paris Exhibitions, besides a Royal Warrant to H.M. King Carlos of Portugal and the King of Sweden. In 1903 George Henry's two sons Henry and Reginald were admitted as partners, initially Henry in charge of production in Oporto and Reginald in London. After 10 years the partners changed roles. After Reginald died in 1925 his shares in the business were exchanged for shares in the Eucalyptus Mills Ltd., and at the same time Reginald's two sons George (Wog) and Martin (Bunting) also left the business. George (Wog) then had a distinguished career in the English wine trade, becoming a Director of John Harvey. Henry's two sons became partners, Victor in 1926 and John in 1935. Frank Heath joined the firm in 1916 and became Manager in 1925.

John Delaforce, founder of the Port Wine shipping family.

During and after the First War business increased dramatically and thousands of pipes (534 litres each) of port were shipped to England each year. Sales were mainly to the 'pub' trade, and the label Delaforces' Fine Old Invalid Port became well known until bureaucracy decreed many years later that the label might be misunderstood!

Sales developed steadily and markets were opened in Canada (Royal Palace Port), Ireland, South and Central America and Scandinavia to the State Monopolies.

Portuguese table wines were shipped to Brazil. Portuguese Brandy was developed and now has an excellent market in Portugal itself. During the years of Portuguese African colonies, sweet and dry Vermouths and a Quinine & Port blend called Quinado all had successes.

In 1931 the Delaforces purchased a lovely wine Quinta on the River Douro about 50 miles East of Oporto. The Quinta da Foz de Temilobos is halfway between Regoa and Pinhao, the two leading small towns in the Port wine growing area. Besides growing vines on the terraces, olives and oranges are grown on the estate run by the 'caseiro'.

The Delaforce wine lodges have always been sited in Villanova de Gaia, on the south side of the river Douro, where thousands of pipes of port are being matured either in casks or vats. Until 1955 the emphasis was on exporting in oak casks which were returnable for the efficient cooperage to repair and renew. The bottling department has grown in importance each year and now well over 90% of all production is exported in a beautiful original bottle designed by Victor Delaforce after World War II, which has the Portuguese Royal coat of arms embossed on it.

During the Second World War Victor and his son Patrick were in the British Army and John in the SOE Intelligence Corps. All the European markets were, of course, closed for five years and Henry in London and Frank Heath in Oporto kept the business alive, with occasional 'bonanza' large orders from the NAAFI or US Army procurement.

After the second war Patrick Delaforce and Trevor Heath (Frank's son) joined the firm. The old markets slowly re-opened again, including many European markets. John Delaforce appointed excellent distributors in West Germany and Delaforce port wines have a substantial business there. In 1946, Patrick had the experience of visiting a firm in the recovering Germany to arrange a contract, to be met by two ‘obvious stormtroopers’. On being asked if he had visited Germany before, decided on frankness, said yes & that he had left a terrible mess. The stormtroopers stood up & said, “We will sign immediately!”

Romantic labels such as Trocadero and Casino were replaced. Now the business is dominated by Paramount at the lower price range and His Eminence's Choice at the top quality level for an old Tawny Port. Every few years a Vintage Port (a single selected unblended port) is 'declared' and shipped in small quantities to selected markets. The standard range consist of ruby, tawny and white port wines.

Late each autumn the new wine is vintaged. The grapes are picked by hand, loaded into straw baskets and taken laboriously to 'lagares' or tanks for pressing. Now usually pressed mechanically, originally the grapes were trampled by foot, which was picturesque for the onlookers, but cold and tiring for the tramplers, who needed and enjoyed brandy to keep their spirits up. Flat bottomed boats used to take the wine down the river to Oporto, but the mundane railway has now taken over. Special ships were developed to take Port to England, again with flat bottoms to cross the dangerous 'bar' at the mouth of the river Douro. Now huge road tankers and trucks take the exports on their way to any one of a hundred markets. Victor and John retired as Partners in the 1970s and the business was bought initially by International Distillers and Vintners, who became part of Watneys, who in turn were taken over by Grand Metropolitan. However the business is still managed personally by John's two sons David and Richard, who both live and work in Oporto. Over six million bottles of Delaforce Port are sold each year to all the European markets, Australia and USA.

The Delaforces are members, of course, of the famous old "Factory House" or British Association - the British port wine shippers private club. This bastion of British culture in Portugal was built 250 years ago, a private "club" for the gentlemen of the port trade. The building was designed by John Whitehead, a scientist and mathematician who was consul to the Factory for 46 years. Attesting to his architectural abilities is a heavy granite staircase, which has stood without support since 1790.

Every Wednesday for almost 200 years, the factors of the port trade gather for lunch around a huge mahogany table. After the main meal, the gentlemen pick up their napkins and move next door to an identical table. Here they can enjoy the taste of vintage port, which is decanted six hours before itis consumed, without interference from any aromas left over from the meal.

In 1983, John Delaforce published a book about the Factory House, which has had a long and romantic history and another book about the history of St James Anglican Church in Oporto.

The Factory House

The Factory House lunch

Three generations of Port Wine Shippers. Henry (centre), sons Victor and John,
Grandsons Patrick and David

Douro boat carrying Port Wine.

The front at Oporto circa 1920

Port waggons on a bridge

Embarking on the River Douro

Terraces above the River Douro

The trees below contains additions supplied by Tarquin & Piers de la Force and Bob Wheatall

John Fleurriet DELAFORCE and his two wives

John Fleurriet DELAFORCE (1807 - 1881) = 1. (1836) Mary Ann Pleasance STURGESS


= 2. (1842) Phoebe WHEATALL

John Sebastian DELAFORCE (1843 - 1866)

George Henry DELAFORCE (1844 - 1912) = (1868) Maria Esther BARRETO de CAMPOS

(see next family tree below)

Ellen DELAFORCE (1846 - 1928) = (1902) Maxwell WRIGHT

(1847 -1847)

George Frederick DELAFORCE (1811 - 1873) London Wine Merchant = 3 wives

George Frederick & his descendants are on the Canadian Family Tree

George Henry DELAFORCE (1844 - 1912) = (1868) Maria Esther BARRETO de CAMPOS

Henry John DELAFORCE (1868 - 1946) = (1895) Mabel Alma SHORE

(see next family tree below)

Edwin Francis DELAFORCE (1870 - 1954) = (1895) Beatrice MAYNARD

(see family tree futher below on this page)

Albert Lionel DELAFORCE (1872 - 1942)

Reginald Stanley DELAFORCE (1874 - 1925) = (1899) Edith CHARTERIS

(see family tree futher below on this page)

Laura DELAFORCE (1876 - 1954) = Hugh AINSWORTH

Frederick Ernest DELAFORCE (1878 - 1879)

William Parker DELAFORCE (1882 - 1938) = (1906) ?

Henry John DELAFORCE & Mabel Alma SHORE

Henry John DELAFORCE (1868 - 1946) = (1895) Mabel Alma SHORE

Victor Shore de Fleurriet DELAFORCE (1896 - ?) = 1. (1922) Joy PAYNE

(see next family tree below)

Phoebe Violet DELAFORCE (1900 - ?) = Everard COTES



John de Fleurriet DELAFORCE (1908 - ?) = Alice Valerie ADAM

(see family tree futher below this page)

Victor Shore de Fleurriet DELAFORCE & his three wives

Victor Shore de Fleurriet DELAFORCE (1896 - ?) = 1. (1922) Joy PAYNE

Patrick de Fleurriet DELAFORCE (b. 1923) = 1. (?) Dinah Margaret CLODD

William J M DELAFORCE (b. 1952)

Joanna M DELAFORCE (b. 1950)

= 2. (1960) Gillian KITCHING

Amanda Fleur DELAFORCE (b. 1963)

Charlotte Emma DELAFORCE (b. 1968)

Patrick is the author of this great work on our family.

Patricia Fleur DELAFORCE (b. 1925) = (?) L D BARNES

= 2. Audrey BIRD
= 3.Phyllis Joan WESTRAY

Celia Joan DELAFORCE (b. 1942)

Tessa Margaret DELAFORCE (b. 1945)

Reginald Stanley DELAFORCE & Edith CHARTERIS

Reginald Stanley DELAFORCE (1874 - 1925) = (1899) Edith CHARTERIS

George Reginald ('Wog') DELAFORCE (1900 - 1974) = (1929) Betty Crawford SMITH

Sarah DELAFORCE (b. 1932)

Extra info from Isobel Sutton née Beeton descended from
'Mrs Beeton', as was Betty

Martin Woodville ('Bunting') DELAFORCE (b. 1907) = (1943) Helena Psyche Eleanor Falaise REDHEAD

Tarquin de la FORCE (b. 1944) = (1/1980) Kristen KNUDSEN

Nicholas Lars Tarquin Martin de la FORCE (b. 12/1980) = (27/9/2014 Paris) Amy BLACK

Sophie Kristina de la FORCE (b. 1990)

Piers de la FORCE (b. 1946) = (13/6/1985) Caroline Sarah CATOR

James Edward de la FORCE (b. 21/11/87)

Alexandra Eloise de la FORCE (b. 5/8/89)

Extra information supplied by Tarquin, Piers & Nick.

John de Fleurriet DELAFORCE & Alice Valerie ADAM

John de Fleurriet DELAFORCE (1908 - ?) = Alice Valerie ADAM

David John DELAFORCE (b. 1937) = (1962) Elizabeth FOSTER

Nicholas DELAFORCE (b. 1965)

Alexandra DELAFORCE (b. 1964)

Angela Valerie DELAFORCE (b. 1940) = Simon COCK

Richard Andrew DELAFORCE (b. 1944) = (1972) Madelaine RUSSELL

Edwin Francis DELAFORCE & Beatrice MAYNARD

Edwin Francis DELAFORCE (1870 - 1954) = 1. (1895) Beatrice MAYNARD

Beryl Blanche Selous DELAFORCE (1896 - ?)

Charles Newland Nesbitt DELAFORCE (1901 - ?) = 1. (1925) Audrey GARBETT

= 2. Eileen WALSH

Anne DELAFORCE (b. 1928)

Jeremy DELAFORCE (b. 1932)

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Contact: Ken Baldry for more information, 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)20 7359 6294 but best to e-mail him
©1980-2015 Patrick Delaforce & Ken Baldry. All rights reserved Last revised 17/9/2015