One of the most laudable Vintage Port traditions is that of ‘laying down’ a Vintage Port for someone shortly after they are born or when they reach a milestone such a graduation or an important birthday.
This consists of buying and setting aside some bottles of Vintage Port, preferably from the person’s birth year or another significant date. In Britain the custom is still often followed, with Vintage Port being laid down by parents for their children.
Today the amount set aside is usually one or two dozen bottles but in the past it would often be a pipe, or the equivalent of 720 bottles. Vintage Port is one of the world’s most long lasting wines and one of very few that can be enjoyed over a whole lifetime.
Unlike most gifts, Vintage Port will get better and better with age and will be enjoyed only on the most special and sociable occasions when it will bring back fond memories of the person who laid it down.