The 1880s saw the beginnings of recovery after the devastation that phylloxera had caused and by the last decade of the 19th century prosperity had returned to the Port trade.
Port consumption continued to grow strongly until the 1920s, even during the war years. Vintage Port acquired a mystique associated with only the very greatest wines and many of its traditions and rituals originated in this period. The taste for Port wine continued to spread and Holland, Belgium, Denmark and Norway became significant markets. The success of the business provided capital for the Port wine houses to develop and improve their estates and refine the style and quality of their wines.
The Great Depression of the 1930s had an impact on Port wine sales but the second half of the decade saw a recovery. The younger styles of wood aged Port became popular in France as an aperitif.
Three times more Port wine was shipped to France in the 1930s than in the previous decade. France was to remain a major consumer of Port wine for the rest of the century, later becoming the most important market in volume. In Britain there was a new burst of interest in Vintage Port. The early part of the twentieth century had produced a string of outstanding vintages and these had helped to consolidate the reputations of the leading Vintage Port houses such as Taylor’s, Fonseca and Croft and broaden awareness of these historic brand names, an advantage that would later be critical in the brand driven wine market of the post-war period. The decade also witnessed a number of innovations such as the development of the first dry white Port, Taylor’s Chip Dry, in 1934. Meanwhile in 1933 the Portuguese government had set up a new body, the Instituto do Vinho do Porto (IVP), or Port Wine Institute, to regulate and supervise the Port trade, much as the Marquis of Pombal had done 177 years previously.