In 1790 George Sandeman, an ambitious young Scotsman from Perth, founded a wine business in London. With a £300 loan he bought his first wine cellar and started trading in Porto and Sherry from Tom’s Coffee House.
By 1795, he had established an agency in Cadiz, Spain and in 1811 he purchased an ageing cellar in V.N. Gaia in Portugal. In the early 1800s Sandeman wines were shipped to countries within Europe, North and South America, Africa, Asia and even as far as New Zealand.<p.Sandeman was the first company to brand a cask. In 1805, Sandeman started fire branding their trademark GSC (George Sandeman & Co.) in a crow’s foot design on all pipes they sold, thus giving the wine a name that assured quality. At the end of the nineteenth century “brand” names were largely unheard of but Sandeman wanted to give their customers a guarantee of quality so in 1880 they became the first Porto House to export bottled and labelled wines. The Sandeman brand was registered as a trademark in 1877 (First Trademark Registrations Act) making it one of the oldest in the world.
The very first agent was appointed by 1903 and by 1914 the brand had a network of nominated agents selling Sandeman wines around the world.
Building a brand <P>At the beginning of the twentieth century, Sandeman wanted to tell the world of their fine wines and so became among the first wine companies to label and advertise its wines. In 1905 press marketing began, followed by more substantial advertising campaigns. An enormous advertisement in the "Irish Times" was accompanied by a merchant's announcement that a "Sample Case" of six Sandeman wines was available at 15s (75p) "delivered to the customer's door". Meanwhile, similar advertising started appearing in Continental Europe, the United States and what was then know as "the Nations of the British Empire".<P>In 1928 George Massiot Brown created The Don. Dressed like the Spanish cabelleros de Jerez in a Portuguese student’s cape and wide-brimmed hat, the Don cuts a dark, dramatic figure with his glass of ruby coloured Porto. This powerful image has been an integral part of both bottle labels and advertising since the early 1930s.<P>Also in the 1930s Sandeman bottled its first vintage in-house. In 1937 Sandeman announced their intention of bottling all the 1935 Vintage Porto itself, to ensure "Perfect uniformity of bottling is secured". Although this was not fully achieved at the time, the wine trade was becoming accustomed to Sandeman’s innovative work. The Wine and Spirit Trade Record acknowledged "the beginning of the end of merchant-bottling of Vintage Portos".<P>The business continues to prosper and in 1965 Sandeman began advertising on television, still featuring the Don, in a series of creative ads.<P>In 1980 Sandeman joined up with the international Canadian-based beverages company – Seagram and a new era began alongside other prestigious global brands.<P>Between 1995-1996, The House of Sandeman in Jerez and Porto was officially presented the Certificate of Quality ISO 9002, and became the first company to have their production methods and procedures recognized for their quality. They were also the first Porto Wine Company to be certified by the Portuguese Government in accordance with the Portuguese Institute for Quality.<P>Now, for the first time in decades, the Sandeman collection is open to the public in a series of themed exhibitions covering the key moments of both the evolution of Porto Wine and of Sandeman, the company and brand. Sandeman went on to build a website in 1998, and then in 2006 the story is continued in the launch of new packaging featuring modern, cutting-edge design.<P>Sandeman in the 21st Century <P>In June 2002, Sandeman joined the Sogrape Group. The Sogrape Group portfolio includes leading wine brands Mateus (Rose), Offley and Ferreira (Porto), as well as prestigious brands from important denominations of origin including Casa Ferreirinha (Douro), Quinta dos Carvalhais (Dão), Herdade do Peso (Alentejo), the multi-regionals Callabriga, Pena de Pato and Grão Vasco, the fresh Gazela (Vinho Verde), and finally Finca Flichman (Argentina) and Framingham (New Zealand).<P>Every minute an average of 21 bottles of Sandeman are bought. Sandeman is a worldwide brand, distributed in more than 75 markets and a leading brand in Belgium, Italy, the USA, Switzerland, Ireland, Germany & Japan.<P>As a crucial asset to this family-owned fine wine company, Sandeman continues its commitment to quality in its production of Sherries, Portos, Brandies de Jerez, Madeiras and Wines. The seventh generation of the family in the business, George Sandeman, upholds this commitment to quality and continues in the family tradition of passing on valuable knowledge.<P>For more than 200 years Sandeman has handed down expertise from generation to generation to maintain the excellence of their wines, appreciated around the world for their quality and taste, mystery and seduction.