Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

pipe, wine trade term, adapted from the Portuguese pipa meaning ‘barrel’, for a large cask with tapered ends, the traditional measure of port as well as of madeira, other Portuguese wines, and marsala, although the volume can vary around the country. In the douro Valley, where port is produced, the yield of each vineyard is measured in pipes of 550 l/145 gal, while downstream in vila nova de gaia, the suburb of Oporto where port is matured, a pipe may vary in size between 580 and 630 l, but is usually taken as 620 l. For shipping purposes, however, a pipe of port is 534.24 l, divided into 21 measures of 25.44 l called almudes, while pipes of madeira and Marsala are 418 and 423 l respectively. Gentlemen in Victorian England traditionally laid down a pipe of port for their sons and godsons, but inflation and changing consumption patterns have made this generosity exceptional.