Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Who has the Oldest Commercial Vineyard in Australia?
Wyndham Estate recently celebrated the first commercial Shiraz plantings in Australia at their Dalwood vineyards, and has also claimed that they are Australia’s oldest continuously operating winery. Now I find that Schild Estate Wines has launched a wine called Moorooroo Shiraz with the claim that it is made with grapes from the oldest commercial vineyard in Australia. Their Shiraz vines were planted near Jacobs Creek by William Jacob in 1846. So they are 150 years old, more or less. Turkey Flat Vineyard also claims some of the oldest Shiraz vines in the world. Theirs were planted in 1847 and are still producing fruit.

Why is this of any interest? Well I’ve just finished reading The Botanist and the Vintner: How Wine Was Saved for the World by Christy Campbell. It is the story of how Phylloxera was introduced to Europe from America. It’s a great read and I’ll post a review some time soon. But after reading the book its obvious that Australia, thanks to James Busby, was blessed with original rootstock from the Old World. The question is how much of that original material has survived? How old are Australia's oldest vines? And where are they?

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