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Port veteran Robin Reid dies

Robin Reid OBE, one of the most respected figures in the Port world and ex-managing director of Croft, has died aged 89.

Robin Reid, who spent much of his professional life after the Second World War promoting the Port industry, died on 28 May, his family has announced.

Among his most prominent achievements, Reid steered the Croft group as managing director from 1962 onwards.

He also founded the Confraria do Vinho do Porto in 1974; a project that he worked on with the future prime minister of Portugal, Dr Sa Carneiro.

‘Robin Reid did for Port what Martin Bamford [of Chateau Loudenne] did for Bordeaux in the 1970s,’ said Ben Howkins, director Royal Tokaji Wine Co and a friend of Reid, as well as a Port writer.
‘Their personalities went beyond the bounds of their respective products. Robin created a personal relationship with Croft consumers. He will be much missed,’ said Howkins.

Reid was born in Porto in 1925, his family having moved to Portugal 100 years earlier. After attending Malvern College in England, Reid joined the army in 1942 and served in India as Captain until 1947, when he was demobilised.

He joined Croft in 1948 and never looked back, becoming director and managing director respectively in 1957 and 1962.

Alongside his role in producing Port, Reid also did much to attract tourists to the area and continue local traditions.

He helped to preserve the Barcos Rebelo – Rabelo Boats were the original boats that brought the pipes of Port down the river Douro from the Douro valley to Vila Nova de Gaia. In 1981, there were only three boats left, but Reid helped to rebuild the tradition and started an annual regatta on the River Douro on the 24 June on São Joao‘s day, named after Porto’s patron saint.

In 1983, Reid was awarded an OBE and in 1990 was made vice president of the Anglo Portuguese chamber of commerce.

Reid married Elsa Andresen Nicolau de Almeida in St. James’ Church, Porto, on 28 November 1953. He also leaves behind four daughters, Olga, Wendy, Joanna and Christian, and six grandchildren.

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