Our label is named after our property in Rutherglen which we purchased in 1999. This property had been a substantial winery until wool hit the price of a pound for a pound in 1952 and the sheep were set upon the vines in 1953-54.
The soil is unlike most clay/loam of the Rutherglen area as its brick red pure sand up to 10 metres deep and judged ideal for wine grapes.
When we purchased the property we knew that grapes had previously been grown there, however it was not until we talked to some locals that we discovered that we had actually planted our vines on the same area of the farm as the previous owner DR JOHN RICHARDS HARRIS.
Dr John Harris under advice from Francis de Castella regarding soils and vine types, set the property up as a vineyard. As a medical practitioner and surgeon he was a busy man but he had a passion for winemaking and it is told that he even moved his bed into the winery to sleep there during fermentation. At this time it was traditional to make sherry in Australia by oxidization, which involved protecting the wine from bacilli during the short period of time that the sherry base was exposed to the air. In 1912, Dr Harris was the first in Australia to make sherry in the traditional European (Jerez) way. He made a dry sherry from Palomino grapes and one was called Phar Lap, after the race horse.
The property changed hands many times after Dr John and sadly much of the winemaking equipment was destroyed. The one remaining item is the very large tree post shed built to house the winemaking equipment, and then extended over time. The shed, with its three gables, (hence the name to be used in our premium wine range) still holds a demanding presence on the property.
The remainder of the 800 acre property is a working farm supporting goats, cattle and sheep.
This is a part of the farm that we show to all new comers. It was a rabbit trap that had been thrown over a young tree and left. Eventually the tree has grown around the trap, so you cannot remove it, you can only see parts of it from either side.