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The Story of Clare's Wineries

Chapter 2. The Boom in Clare Wine Making

Previous Page: Chapter 1. Pioneers of Clare Wine Making

Stanley Wine Barrel.jpg

The 1890’s saw a wine boom in Australia, which author James Halliday describes as "Days of Wine and Roses".

  • The vine disease phylloxera, having wiped out the European wine industry,

  • The London wine market  began to place very significant orders.

  • while the change in fashion from table wines to fortified wines

  • played right into the hands of its warm climate and varietal selection.


Prior to Federation Victoria exported less than 6,000 gallons annually.


Halliday says there were only four wineries around Clare back in the 1890s, essentially you had

To these we can add two more recent wineries in the southern end of the Clare Valley:


James Halliday (p.25) reports that winemaker Thomas Hardy visited Clare in May 1892 and in a speech at the Clare Mechanics Institute told the audience:

  • The English market could absorb all the wine they could produce

  • They should only export first class wines to avoid a fall in price

  • and use their inferior grapes to distill spirits

  • every farmer should plant at least 20 acres with vines


Adelaide Observer (SA ) Sat 9 Mar 1895 Page 4


"The present Commissioner of Crown Lands (Mr. P. P. Gillen) had great faith in Stanley as a vinegrowing and winemaking district, and advised the people to plant, but sceptics laughed at him, and he was jocularly referred to as the "rooted vine."

"Three years ago, however, Messrs. Hope and Christison and Dr. Bain made a start, and since then hundreds of others have followed their example, and during the last three years within a radius of seven miles of Clare 1,000 acres have been planted."

Stanley Winery

"To give the winegrowers confidence and encouragement
Messrs. J. Christison, J. Knappstein, and Badger, and Dr. Wien-Smith have started a winery."

  • "For this purpose they purchased the old fruit-preserving works which were built about ten years ago.

  • The premises are constructed of solid masonry, and ran 100 ft. long by 80 ft. wide. There are also 5 acres of ground surrounding the building.

  • Bagshaw's new stemmer and presser has been purchased, and with 100 casks on hand everything is in readiness for this year's vintage, which will start next week.

  • Naturally, owing to the age of the vineyards, not much wine will be made this season. Mr. Knappstein told me he thinks it will be about 6,000 gallons.

  • The prices offered for grapes will range from £5 for the best to £2 for the  inferior sorts."

Jump to section Stanley Winery

Stanley Leasingham Wine Co buildings
Quelltaler, Watervale - 1865
1. Quelltaler, Watervale - 1868, as Spring Vale

Quelltaler Rd Watervale SA 5452

Continuing from early winemaker Francis Treloar, Watervale - 1853


The heritage listed Quelltaler Estate dates back to 1865.

  • Featuring a historic museum and beautiful on-site picnic grounds,

  • visitors can spend a day enjoying the delightful range of Clare Valley wines and fine foods.

Quelltaler Estate at Watervale includes

  • about 365ha of proprietary vineyard and

  • lease arrangements in Watervale and Polish Hill, and

  • the existing 1000 ton Quelltaler winery. 

  • After a recent purchase, the Quelltaler trademark belongs to Seppeltsfield Winery.

Quelltaler Granfiesta Sherry Label.jpeg
Springvale (Quelltaler) Vineyards and Winery

Early History:


Treloar established the Springvale wine cellars in 1868:

  • sections of these stone cellars, dug into the hillside (as was typical of cellars at that time) survive.

  • He advertised wine for auction in the Northern Argus 1 Oct. 1869.

  • In 1868 Carl Sobels moved to Spring Vale as winemaker and manager of 35 acres planted with vines.

  • In 1890 Mr TGH Buring and Mr Sobels joined forces and purchased the Spring Vale vineyard and plant and since that. time the name of Buring & Sobels was one of the best known in the wine trade.


Quelltaler House, Gilbert Place Adelaide, was in 1935 purchased by H. Buring and Sobels to be used as a cellar and warehouse for their Quelltaler Wines label.

  • As Quelltaler grew to prominence – their Granfiesta Pale Dry Sherry was once considered Australia’s best fino – they saw fit to base their city operations in a building marked with their name.

Annie’s Lane Cellar Door Manager Grant Thomas, with wine maker Alex MacKenzie, outside the iconic Quelltaler winery

Above: Annie’s Lane Cellar Door Manager Grant Thomas, with wine maker Alex MacKenzie, outside the iconic Quelltaler winery

Annie's Lane Quelltaler Sparkling Shiraz

Quelltaler was noted in the 1900s for

  • fortified wine and Brandy production, as well as

  • ‘Rhine Rieslings’ and ‘Hock’


In 1892, 15,000 gallons of port, sherry, madiera, riesling and claret.

In 1895, a Chronicle reporter was told they expected 50,000 gallons.


Read more:

Continue to Quelltaler between the wars (P.3: Quelltaler Expands)

St. Andrews - 1892
2. St. Andrews Winery, Auburn - 1892


In 1892 Mr John Christison of Clare and Mr David A. Lyall set up a vineyard at St. Andrews, a dairy farm north of Auburn.

  • Halliday reports that 70 acres were planted in 1892, 40 more in 1893 and another 30 in 1904.

    • The property had access to the Wakefield River, and the flats could be irrigated for quick cropping.

  • By 1897, 115 acres were planted with shiraz, "carbinet sauvignon", malbec, mataro, "carbenet gris", with six acres of zante currants, and the balance in fruit trees.


They sold the 1895 crop, and produced 3,500 gallons of wine in 1896


Much of St. Andrews wine was exported to England, at first through the London Wine Depot, but later to agent A.W. Pownall of the firm known in Australia as W. W. Pownall & Co., and in London as the Australian Wine Company.

  • "He has been much struck by the large scale on which the wine industry is conducted, and by the cleanliness and practical nature of the cellars."


When the Stanley Wine Company needed more funds,  John Christison sold his share back to Mr Lyall.  By 1910 the storage capacity of the winery had grown to 80,000 gallons, making it the second largest winery in the Clare district.

  • The winemaker from 1919 to 1926 was Michael Auld, later Managing Director of Stonyfell Wines (1943).

  • Vintages in the 1920s produced up to 28,000 gallons of wine. The last vintage was in 1932.

  • The Lyalls sold St Andrews in March 1934 to pastoralist Joseph Kenworthy.

  • Joe Kenworthy was more interested in livestock grazing and race-horses than wine production and the vineyards were pulled out.

  • He developed a Merino stud at St Andrews and converted the winery into a woolshed.

  • Some of the extensive cellars still remain at the site.

  •  St Andrews was purchased from Lawrence Iskov by Taylors Wines on 2 November 1995.

Read more:

Dr. Bain's Vineyard - 1892
Dr J D Bain (1838-1903).jpg
The Bain Rotunda, Clare
3. Dr. Bain's Vineyard, Polish Hill RIver - 1892

South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA) Sat 16 Mar 1895 Page 5


If any one has the welfare of Clare at heart it is Dr. Bain, who, besides lending valuable aid to others, enterprisingly launches out on his own amount.

The genial and generous medico has taken up sections at the head of Hill River during tho last three years, and had put a considerable area under vines and fruit- trees. Accepting the invitation of Mr. Treleaven I drove out to have a look at this property.

Ascending an incline we soon had a panoramic view of the country, the ranges encircling it giving the landscape the appearance of a vast amphitheatre.

The doctor had arrived before us, and was walking about his young eighty acre


  • This was an old wheat section, but it was worked to such an extent that in the end it would not produce anything.

  • The vines, principally "Carbenet" and Shiraz, were planted three years ago, but owing to 'misses,' &c., which occasioned replanting, some are only a year old.

  • A very bad season has been experienced.

  • It was first too wet and then too dry, so the land could not be worked.

  • As a result the 'stinkwort' has got a hold and it is found very difficult to get rid of this growth.

Continuing our journey a little distance down the road we arrived at Dr. Bain's other section, of which twenty acres are under vineyard — Zante currants and wine grapes, ten acres of each— and twenty acres of orchard.

  • The apples, which are all of the best keeping varieties, look very well, those in the virgin soil doing famously.

  • The pears have made excellent headway, and some of the trees have some lovely fruit on them.

The doctor thinks the profit is in wine making, not in selling the grapes; and therefore it is his intention to manipulate his own berries. He will start with a small cellar, and gradually work up as the supply increases.

With the purchase of the land, planting, and improvements Dr. Bain has already spent £3,500 on his property, and every one wishes him that success which he richly deserves.

Dr. Bain died in 1903, and the property was purchased by the brothers Main, who started the Nyora winery.

Mr. G. Main conducted the winery operations, having trained on the continent some years ago.

Read more:

Professor Perkins of Roseworthy College - 1892


Professor Arthur James Perkins was appointed to the South Australia's Central Agricultural Bureau and government Viticulturalist in 1892 and was based at Roseworthy Agricultural College.

  • He taught winemaking techniques and pest and diseases control.

  • He shunned publicity and enjoyed literature

  • and playing the cello, banjo and guitar.

  • He was made OBE after his retirement in 1937.


In 1892 Professor A.J. Perkins (illustrated left) was appointed to the chair at Roseworthy, while a 'Vine Mania' gripped the Clare Valley.

The Professor was also appointed as

  • the Secretary of Department of Agriculture

  • Editor of the Journal of Agriculture

  • Government Viticulturist

In 1893 at a lecture, Professor Perkins said:

"It had been generally admitted that the best wines were made in hilly districts on the hill sides,

  • due perhaps to better drainage and to receiving the heat better.

  • On the plains the crops were heavier, but the wine was not as good as hilly wine.

  • Another situation often used was a valley,

  • but the great objection to this was the liability to spring frosts and chilly winds when the vine was in flower."

The subsoil was to be taken as much into consideration as the surface ground.

Some soils produced vigorous growth, others great quantity, and others better quality.

  • Siliceous soils were the kind which predominate in the Bordeaux district, and consisted of a mixture of gravel (not sand) and loam, with a quantity of rubble.

  • These soils produce fine flavour and bright colour, while the subsoil was a conglomerate of clay and ironstone, with sometimes limestone.

  • Limestone subsoils generally produced white wines :

  • clay subsoil gave vigorous growth, but if badly drained gave to the wine substances which prevented its keeping long,

  • but well-drained clay subsoil was very good ground for planting.

  • Iron had a great influence in brightening the colour and giving substance, but too much iron makes coarse taste.

  • With too much humus in earth the wine kept badly.


The colour of the soil was not of great importance, but dark soil was preferable to light, being more absorbant of heat.

  • In some old vine yards all sorts were mixed up. This did not add to the quality of the wine.

  • In no case, in the making of best class wine, did it consist in mixing more than four kinds of grapes at the outside.

  • Vines could not be too well cultivated.


Professor Perkins in his annual report of 1895-1896 emphasised that it was unfortunate that suppliers were selling grapes and not wine.

  • Today the grower should be the winemaker.

  • As a matter of fact it would pay holders of stocks to distil good wine into spirits rather than sell it at such low figures as had been quoted.

  • The temporary glut, brought about by artificial conditions, could then be tided over.


In 1904 Professor Perkins concluded: "I do not see that there is anything to be frightened about. I have made a close study of the whole subject, and have every faith in the industry, notwithstanding the present depression."

Read more:


Chronicle (Adelaide, SA) Sat 24 May 1902 Page 9 The Vineyard.

At the annual meeting of the South Australian Vignerons' Association, held on Tuesday afternoon, Professor Perkins read the following paper on the subject of regulating the temperature in the fermenting vats in the process of wine-making: —My main object to-day is to draw attention to a simple method of keeping in check the rise in temperature of fermenting vats.  My own observations go to prove its perfect efficiency, even in presence of most unfavorable conditions.

Arthur James Perkins.jpg

Professorial Pruning Advice:

In making the cut be also noticed a variation from the French practice, which, by-the-way, also differs from the advice given in the Victorian Handbook of Viticulture.

  • The pruners on Saturday made the cut without any reason other than convenience from halt an inch to two inches above the bud.

The French custom in short pruning is to cut through the bud above the one intended to produce the last shoot.

  • When the nodes are very long, however, he would cut in the middle.

Speaking of the diseases of the vine the treatment for oidium was mentioned, and Mr. Perkins was

asked whether it was correct that the practise of spraying a liquid fungicide was taking the place of

ousting with sulphur.

  • He did not know of such being the case, and as sulphuring was so effective and so easily applied he did not think the spraying would answer as well.

Professor Perkins of Roseworthy College
Handbook of Viticulture Vic.jpg
A.P. Birks, Wendouree - 1895
4. A.P. Birks, Wendouree - 1895

Wendouree Road, Clare, SA 5453 (not open to the public)

Winemaker: Tony Brady; Vineyards (area): 12 ha

AP Birks established Wendouree wines just north of Sevenhill in 1893. The winery has become an icon and has hardly changed its operational practices in 120 years.

  • Alfred Percy Birks ‘AP Birks’ started in 1892 at Spring Farm, on the Clare to Spring Farm road.

  • AP was one of four boys. He and one of his brothers planted a 0.2-ha block of cabernet sauvignon.

One of his other brothers was Charles Birks, of the Adelaide Department store Birks. Mr. W.R. Birks was appointed principal of the Roseworthy Agricultural College in 1937.

  • There was a story that it started out as a hobby, but gee, they worked hard.

  • It’s remarkable what varieties they planted and where, just how astute time has shown them to be.

  • Alfred Birks was for many years a member of the Clare School Board of Advice, and

  • also a life member of the Clare Agricultural Bureau,

  • but in later years, owing to increasing deafness, he was unable to take any part in public affairs.

A visit to Wendouree – the most surprising cult winery in the country

Dec 6, 2015 by Andrew Graham


Wendouree is considered by many wine lovers to be among the most beautiful and distinctive wines this country has to offer.

Fittingly (perhaps infamously), the wines are also sold in a thoroughly old-fashioned mode – by mail order.

Tony has a (paper) file with everyone’s details and sends out a (paper) mailer each year.

The most loyal customers end up with generous allocations of each wine (usually 6 of each),

though many people I know just put in what they want to order and hope that something, anything, will turn up.

Entertainingly, order forms can also have different colour markings on them, which may or may not correspond with how much wine you’ll get.


The Wendouree winery is hardly a gleaming tribute to modern technology (still plenty of open vats here), but

  • stainless is the norm,

  • temperature control utilised and

  • a shiny new bottling line – working with the ‘Guala’ screwcaps – sits in the corner.

Notably, the only time Tony felt comfortable posing was with his speccy new Massey tractor in the driveway.

For all that new bling, the mailing list price of the Wendouree wines has remained very fair, with the 2015 (current releases) selling for just $45-$55.

Alfred Percy Birks

Alfred Percy Birks came to Clare in 1892 and in partnership with his brother,

the late Mr. W. S. Birks, carried on farming operations. and the same year commenced the planting of currants and wine grapes on their property at Spring Farm.

  • Some of the original vines are still in production.

  • Then in 1895, he began winemaking as a hobby, with the help and guidance of his Uncle, the late Mr. Edward Salter, of Angaston.

  • This enterprise proved very successful and eventually led to the establishment of the Wendouree Cellars.

    • The word Wendouree is supposed to be an Aboriginal word meaning place of water. There used to be a creek, and a permanent spring and permanent waterhole nearby at Wendouree.

  • Many of the vines on the 28 acre Clare Valley property date back to 1892.

  • The beautiful historic stone winery is also over 100 years old.

There are seven Australian wines listed in the “Exceptional” category at Langtons, and one is Wendouree Shiraz.

  • For many lovers of big Australian red wines the discussion begins and ends with Wendouree.

  • Truly exceptionally cellar-worthy, these full bodied and gripping red wines are the result of extremely low yields from the very old, unirrigated vines of Shiraz, Malbec, Mataro (Mourvèdre), and Cabernet Sauvignon, many of them growing on untrellised bush-vines.


In 1893 the Birks Brothers made 1000 gallons, and sold both that and their surplus grapes to the Stanley Wine Company.

Up to 1914 their maximum production was only 4,000 gallons.

For those 20 years, Stanley remained their only customer.

Read more:

Continue reading P.3: A.P. Birks Wendouree - Between the Wars

Read even more:

5. Stanley Wine Company - 1894


The Clare wine industry was given its greatest boost in the early 1890s when the foundation of a long-lasting venture occurred - The Stanley Wine Company.

In 1894 John Christison and J.H. Knappstein founded the Stanley Wine Company in Clare on the site which is now Mr Mick’s, named after Joseph Knappstein's son Mick Knappstein. Knappstein took control in 1912. 

The Clare Preserving Company had failed

  • due to drought in the interior of SA,

  • the general depression,

  • poor quality fruit and preserves,

  • and an overstocked market.


They utilised the buildings of the failed Clare Fruit Preserving Company (known as the Clare Jam and Preserving Works) in a new manner:


The Company had been established to solve the problem of what to do with the products of the increasing number of vineyards in the Clare district.

At the October 1896 Adelaide Wine Show it won first and second prizes for a light red of 1896 vintage.

Many leading townsmen themselves planted vines; for example, Christison (at St. Andrews), Knappstein, Dr. Bain, Charles Kimber and sons, and R. E. H. Hope, son of John Hope and brother-in-law of John Christison.

In the early 1890’s there were already 150 acres of vines in the Clare Valley.

By 1903 they were producing over 378,000 litres of wine from most of the annual grape harvest in the Clare Valley.


Sales Crisis

However, at the latter end of that century and the beginning of the present (20th) century there was a great slump in the sale of wines, and the result was that in those years the cellars were chock-full of wine and there was no outlet for it.

Stanley Wine Company - 1894


London. June 30 1902.

Mr. E. Barney Young, the Manager

of the South Australian (Govt.) Wine and Produce Depot in London, has every-thing in readiness for receiving produce consignments from South Australia.

Mr. Young does not advise the shipment of compressed Australian hay, as he considers that the prospects of sale are poor, owing to the splendid English crop.

The Customs authorities demur to granting an additional bonded ware-house for the storage of wine from South Australia.

Mr. Young is vigorously urging the claims of South Australia in the matter.

The London Wine and Produce Depot

Fortified Wines

James Halliday explains that in the 1890s fortified wines were produced, since these wines could travel much further without spoilage than the unfortified wines we drink today.

Every winemaker had a distillery to fortify their wines.

So South Australia exported wines with above 26% alcohol, not so high as port or whisky, but with enough alcohol to be antibacterial.

This preserves the wines, and prevents the spoilage of the wine.

Today winemakers use sulfites for the same purpose, with only 11% to 15% alcohol by volume.

e.g. The shiraz manufactured today was not exported a century ago, lest it spoil.

The Times newspaper of London, reported in 1895 the sales of 

  • Australian Hock Riesling had a strength of 21.4% alcohol,

  • Extra quality hock had 26.4% alcohol

  • Burgundy was offered in three strengths, with extra quality at 21.9%, and some at 22.7%. All sold well.

The Register (Adelaide SA)
Sat 25 Oct 1902 Page 10


To the Editor.

Sir— Referring to Mr. J. Christison's

speech at the dinner to the judges of the Adelaide Wine Show,

it is a pleasure to know that one South Australian vine-grower has the courage of his convictions, and is not afraid of publishing them.

I have much pleasure in endorsing all he says about the London Wine Depot, and also the accusations he makes.

The wine-growers are like a lot of toads under a single harrow, the harrow being the fat man in London,

who so rules the roost that wine exporters as a whole are afraid of expressing their opinions in public.

This is a deplorable state of affairs, and the surest remedy is co-operation  among winemakers and exporters.

The public were informed through the press the other day that, 'owing to want of enterprise on' the part of Australians, sufficient wine of certain sorts cannot be purchased for the London market at 3/ per gallon.

This is a vague and misleading statement. It does not pay to grow specially high-class wines that would rank with the finest European' growths at 3/ per galIon, even if this price does not include casks and f.o.b. (freight)

On the other hand, wines that the same authority says are suitable for the

London trade are being knocked down in price to starvation point (2/ per gallon, casks included); and these latter are the wines that form nine-tenths of the export trade.

When winemakers are con-strained to express the hope that the coming vintage will not be a large one it shows an unhealthy state of affairs that re-quires some drastic remedy. 

I regret that owing to the reasons above mentioned I must shield my

identity behind a nom de plume.

1 am, Sir, &c, .


Horsedrawn wagons delivering winebarrels
Stanley Winery Established
Stanley Winery Established

The opening of the renovated Stanley Wine Company cellars in February 1897 attracted an enormous amount of attention.

  • The local press praised the farsightedness of the men who formed the company.

  • The extensive machinery was described as well as the additions to the old Jam Factory.

  • Speakers heaped praise on the capacity of the land of the Clare district which 'was equal to any purpose'.

  • The wine that would be produced, claimed Mr Christison, 'would gladden the heart of man'. - HERITAGE OF EIGHT LOWER NORTH TOWNS


They engaged Mr Alfred Basedow – a European-trained winemaker – as both General Manager and Winemaker.

The name Stanley was chosen to identify the company with the local electoral district of Stanley and represents a 140-year history of successful wine-grape growing.


In 1900 Basedow said:

This year's vintage was about 40,000 gallons from 1,100 acres under vines in this district, all the grapes of which are bought by the Stanley Wine Company. Yield was low due to late frosts.

James Halliday (p.186) records the 1900 vintage as 44,165 gallons.

The ​Knappstein Family

In the late 1890’s Joseph Knappstein met Mary McKay (in W.A.) who also came from Clare but had migrated to the west with her parents.

  • Mary and Joseph married and over time their family grew to seven sons and two daughters.

They were

  1. Bob (Joseph Robert Knappstein, 1889-1973, chairman of Stanley Wine Co),

  2. Archie (Archibald John Knappstein, contractor of Clare),

  3. Bernie (Bernard, J.Knappstein, Manager of the Stanley Wine Co.),

  4. Alex (energetic Alexander Loudon Knappstein, born in London, later Winery Manager at Stanley),

  5. Clem (Clement Knappstein, Stanley Cellar),

  6. Jean Knappstein, who lived at Donnybrook, Clare

  7. Karl Hubert (Carl Knappstein, known as Mick), the legendary Stanley Wine Maker,

  8. Marie (infant Marie Augusta who died in 1915)

  9. and Hugh (known as Bill).  


Mr. John Christison (1849-1911)

was one of the most widely known and highly respected of the businessmen of Clare.

  • Born at Dalbop, Scotland, he was articled to a solicitor.

  • In 1879 he came to South Australia under engagement to the late Hon. J. H. Angas, and managed the Hill River estate for three years.

In 1882 he entered into partnership with Mrs. Filgate (daughter of Paddy Gleeson) in the Clare brewery.

  • For 29 years he carried on business as a brewer, and under his able control the business of the Clare Brewery expanded very consider-ably,

James Halliday describes Christison as arrogant but fundamentally honest.

"There was no trimming about John Christison, he answered questions without equivocation, but was too honest and straightforward to get into Parliament."

He took a keen interest in public affairs, and was always foremost in helping forward any movement tor the advance-ment of the town and district.

He served a term as councillor in the Clare Corporation, and was afterwards elected to the position of Mayor.

By his death in 1911 Clare has lost one of its most prominent citizens

Mr. Christison was the spokesman of the group from 1806 to 1902 when Joseph Knappstein returned from W.A.

Halliday recounts that

  • J H Knappstein was present at the Adelaide Wine Show dinner in 1902 when

  • John Christison attacked the marketing of their wine in England (p.51).

  • The newspapers fully reported his speech, inflaming the crisis.

"We have started this industry at Clare depending on the Government to assist us in an export business by getting rid of our wine in London."

(See London Wine and Produce Depot, above left)

"There is one man in London who has the winegrowers of South Australia under his thumb."

"The Government have started in opposition to that man, and I say 'God bless them.'"

Knappstein's search for export markets

Read more about his trip:
Northern Argus (Clare, SA) Fri 11 Dec 1903 Page 2

Mr. J. H. Knappstein's Trip to Great Britain and the Continent.


In 1903, Mr Knappstein, after careful consideration, and with the wishes of his co-partners, left the Australian shores to endeavor to find markets for the wine on the other side of the world.


After a very great up-hill battle Mr Knappstein was successful in finding the required markets in the United Kingdom and on the Continent of Europe, and since that time the company has never looked back.


It had a splendid connection in the United Kingdom with assured markets, and all the wine is exported direct from Clare to the wholesale distributors.


J.H. Knappstein returned to South Australia by 1909 and by 1914 had bought out the other three partners in the Stanley Wine Company.

For the next chapter in this story, please move to the next page:


Keep Reading: P.3 Stanley Wines between the Wars

​Read more:

Fortified WInes
Mr John Christison
Stanley Wine Barrel.jpg
The ​Knappstein Family
Knappstein's search for export markets
Sevenhill Winery during the Boom years
6. Sevenhill Winery during the Boom years
Sevenhill vintage port 1980.jpg

The boom conditions of the 1890s affected Sevenhill, and much replanting and vineyard work was undertaken.

Brother Storey, now in charge,

  • rooted out vines planted too close together,

  • replanted ten acres,

  • added nine acres of new vineyard of Shiraz and Malbec vatieties.


Brother Storey believed infallibly in Professor Perkins' instructions, and by following them he has managed to make several lots of vines yield more abundantly than before.

Great damage is done by frost and by birds.

The best growing old vines were of Shiraz, Mataro, Riesling and many other varieties.


There are about 30 acres of vines and about 10 acres of fruit trees, and they produce about 6,000 gallons of wine, half white, half red, for the vintage.

Keep Reading: P.3 Sevenhill Winery between the Wars

R.E.H. Hope, Clare - 1896
7. R.E.H. Hope, Clare - 1896

Farrells Flat Road, Clare

 Blyth Agriculturist (SA) Fri 29 Sep 1944 Page 3 Passing of Mr. R. E. H. Hope.


Mr. R.E.H.Hope was born in Clare in 1865, the son of John and Isabel Matilda Hope, and he inherited a great part of the pioneer holdings of his father, John Hope, and resided at 'Wolta Wolta', Clare.

In early life he was much attracted to various kinds of sport such as coursing, riding, horse-racing and football. At each he excelled.


In addition to holding large areas surrounding Clare, his lifetime was filled with the duties incumbent upon the administration of station property and his sporting interests.

  • Para Station in N.S.W. (Darling  River, NSW near Wentworth) has been held 'by the family since the early days of the Colony.

  • Avoca Station N.S.W. (then managed by his son John) was another extensive holding.


Chronicle (Adelaide, SA) Sat 13 May 1899 Page 41 Horticulture.

Mr. R. E. H. Hope had a splendid vineyard, 80 acres of which is in full  bearing.

  • Most of his vines are trellised, and are doing well, though they suffered much from the hailstorms.

  • The Cabernet vines are looking better than ever, and the grapes were a beautiful sample.

He has also a very fine garden, and is going the right way to  achieve success.

  • He chiefly concerns himself with sheep, but takes the deepest interest in vine-growing, and has spent a lot of money in this line.
    All output went to the Stanley Wine Company.

  • He had a fine crop of wheat from 180 acres near the road from Clare to the north, the old coaching road. From 180 acres he reaped an average of 24 bushels.

Koonowla, Auburn - 1896
8. Koonowla, Auburn - 1896
An early model Ford motor car and owners
Auburn road bridge, near Koonowla.jpeg

Above: 1912 - An early model Ford motor car and owners Mr & Mrs J.B. Tothill

left: Auburn road bridge, near "Koonowla"

Koonowla’s story has always been one of resilience and hope, shooting to prominence in the early 1900s with founder John Burne Tothill overseeing the production of up to 250,000 litres of wine annually with a booming export business, on about 850 acres of land near Auburn.

Koonowla was originally farm land, but about 1893 it was bought by Messrs. Sharp and TothilL

  • Extensive improvements were made to the place, thousands of pounds being expended on the property.

  • Subsequently Mr. J. B. Tothill became the owner.

  • Later he sold to two young Englishmen, Messrs. Rawsterne and Hollins, who afterwards sold out to the late Mr. Henry Dutton. Mr. Tothill being appointed manager.

In 1896 there were 150 acres of vineyards, 10 acres of apples and apricots, a dairy and a piggery.

Wine cellars had been constructed to store 35,000 gallons of wine.


In 1904, when Tothill sold the estate at a good profit, he took a trip to the old country, mainly for the benefit of his health, but finding the South Australian climate better suited to his constitution, returned to the land of his adoption.


When it was purchased by Mr. Henry Dutton, he persuaded Mr. Tothill to stay as manager in 1907, the same year a bushfire made a 'clean sweep' of the winery and the cellars.

The vineyards were enlarged to 1000 acres, some under irrigation, In 1907 of the 1,000 acres, 130 acres were under vines, 20 acres under currants, while there are also 14 acres of orchard, and 95 acres set apart for rape and early barley as green feed for ewes and lambs.


In 1896 the Observer reported that they expected 4,000 to 5,000 gallons.

In 1907 they produced 13,000 gallons even though a bushfire had gone through the whole operation.

With ailing health, Tothill left for Devon, UK, in 1912, where he died on April 15, 1922 at Crediton in the county of Devon,


The Mail (Adelaide, SA) Sat 31 Jul 1915 Page 5


The well-known 'Koonowla' Estate situated between Saddleworth and Auburn, has been purchased by Mr. W.A.A. West, estate and financial agent, of Currie Street.

Its western portion will be about a mile distant from a siding of the Riverton-Spalding railway.

The property, which comprises about 1,000 acres of magnificent land, has long been regarded as one of the most attractive propositions in South Australia.

  • The transaction was effected through Messrs. Coles & Thomas, stock and station agents of Currie street, who are acting in connection with the estate of the late Mr. Henry Dutton, of Anlaby.


Kapunda Herald (SA) Fri 12 Oct 1906 Page 7


His Exoellency the Governor (Sir George Le Hunte) paid his first visit to Saddle-worth on Friday, October 5.

Arriving by the 10 a.m. train, His Exoellency was met by Mr J. B. Tothill, and driven to Koonowla Estate, where later in the morning he was joined by

Mr. Henry Dutton, of Anlaby,

Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Martin, of Gawier,

Mr. L. J. Johnson (President of the Midlands Agricultural Society), and others.

After luncheon the party were driven to the showgrounds in a four-in-hand drag.

Koonowla's History.jpg

A commodious and attractive residence fitted with every modern convenience oqcupies a beautiful position, and there is much accommodation.

  • Comfortable quarters are available for the employees. There is an up-to-date wine-making plant, and the storage capacity of the cellars is between 25,000, and 30,000 gallons, for which oak casks are provided.

  • Over 300 acres are covered with a flourishing wheat crop, and there are 80 acres of vines and orchards.

  • Splendid stables, barns, and piggeries have been built, and huge dams and tanks all indicate the thoroughly modern nature of the arrangement.

  • One of the features is a most elaborate reticulation scheme, which reflects the greatest credit on those responsible for its planning.


After Mr. J. B. Tothill disposed of the property to the late Mr. Henry Dutton he continued to live on it, and acted as manager.

Sadly, Tothill’s health was not as robust as his estate and he returned to London for treatment, which was unsuccessful.

Continue Reading: P.3 Koonowla between the Wars

Read more:

Australian Country Magazine: Koonowla's History

Chronicle (Adelaide, SA) Sat 13 Jul 1907 Page 10 KOONOWLA AND ST. ANDREW'S VINEYARDS.


Read more:



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