top of page

Joseph Knappstein

The founder of Clare's Stanley Wine Company
Stanley Wine Company
Joseph Knappstein

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.

  • They utilised the buildings of the failed Clare Fruit Preserving Company in a new manner:

  • The Stanley Wine Company was set up in the old Jam Factory building in 1894 by four leading men,


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 and

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, Knappstein, Dr. Bain, Charles Kimber and sons, and R. E. H. Hope, son of John Hope and brother-in-law of Christison.


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'.

Joseph Herman Knappstein

Joseph Herman Knappstein arrived in the colony of South Australia in 1876 from Germany – he was 18 years old. He was born on 14 Oct 1859 at Soest, Westphalia, Prussia, Germany to Philipp Knappstein and Auguste Berghoff.

After travelling within South Australia, taking on a variety of jobs, Joseph finally settled in the Clare area where he set out to become a merchant.

  • He grew fruit at Donnybook and carted this as far north as Crystal Brook. 

  • On the barter system he gave fruit and eggs and supplied a lot of people as far away as Perth and Broken Hill. 


He later began a business in Fremantle supplying German merchant ships with supplies of vegetables, eggs etc. 

  • During the drought year in Western Australia in the 1880’s he packed eggs in crushed oats and bran,
    • which he obtained from the flour mill in the Main Street, and

    • later sold packing and eggs at four times more than he paid in the first place!

    • Teamsters and dairymen were short of feed and were glad to get the packing for feed for their animals.

Later he returned to Clare and became the manager of the Stanley Wine Company. 

In 1905 he went to London with his family where he established the first Australian agency for wine.

Knappstein Family

Mr. Knappstein Senior was married twice:

In the 1880’s he married Ruth Reed and the couple produced four sons – his first wife, Ruth, died of Lymphoma 29th December when 30 in 1894, and of this first family the children were:

  1. Phillip. H. Knappstein (b 08 Jun 1886 Clare, SA, d 07 Mar 1967), Six children, see Family Tree below

  2. R. Otto Knappstein (b 02 Dec 1887 Clare, SA, d 16 Sep 1957),

  3. Frank J. Knappstein (b. 24 Jun 1889 in Clare, SA
    d. 14 Apr 1973 in Clare, SA, and

  4. Fred W. Knappstein (b 01 May 1891 Clare, SA, d 21 Dec 1938).


Following Ruth’s death on 29 December 1894, Joseph relocated to Western Australia with three of his sons, leaving Phillip behind at PAC in Adelaide, and

  • he set up a very successful ships chandlers business in Fremantle.

In the late 1890’s he met Mary McKay 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).  
    -- Skip to detailed Family Tree, below

Winery Established

Mr John Christison (see left panel), one of the larger wine growers, and a beer brewer in Clare, could see a need to process the grapes, and as a consequence he approached

  1. J.H Knappstein,

  2. Otto Wien Smith and

  3. Magnus Badge (a local solicitor, Mayor of Clare, a Scotchman by birth born 1857 in Fifeshire)
                to establish a winery in Clare.

In 1894 the four men contributed £350 each to purchase the recently failed Clare Jam and Preserving Works and proceeded to establish the necessary equipment for winemaking.

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 1902 Joseph sold his business in Western Australia and returned to Clare to take charge of the Stanley Wine Company, due to a crisis in the export side of the business.


The 1890’s saw a wine boom in Australia. 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.

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

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

Winery Established

Northern Argus (Clare, SA) Fri 26 May 1939 Page 8

Many of our finest settlers have come from Germany.

Before he left for the home of his adoption, the strict military regime and harsh persecution of all walks of life in Germany by the Prussian school of the Hohenzollerns and the Bismark tradition then had a stranglehold upon the nation's manhood.

With him Joseph Hermann Knappstein brought all the finest and best in the way of culture, honesty, and integrity with which the finer instincts of that German nation are blessed.

It is safe to say that many of the best traits of our Australian characteristics owe their origin to the finer thoughts of life with which these pioneers brought with them and helped to develop in sunnier and freer climes.

Both in France and Germany the proprietors of the vineyards make their own wine, and dispose of it to merchants, and mostly at very low prices.

There are no large companies similar to their Stanley Wine Company.

Knappstein Family
Stanley Wine Company Cellars
Joseph Hermann Knappstein

Above: Joseph Hermann Knappstein

Below: The buildings of the Stanley Wine Co.

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,

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 John Christison
Gallery Stanley Wine Cellars
Gallery of old Stanley Wine Co.

Heritage Buildings:

Cellar door sales section

and Board Room Leasingham Winery

Dominic St CLARE SA


Statement of Cultural Significance Clare Survey Item No.: 24

  • Built in the late 1880s-early 1890s, these two buildings relate to one of Clare's earliest factory based industries - a fruit-preserving factory.

  • In 1894 the buildings were incorporated, probably as a distillery and boiler room, for one of Clare's most adventurous and long-running enterprises, the Stanley Wine Company. - Illustrated below

Stanley Leasingham Wine Co buildings
The Opening of the Stanley Wine Cellars

Northern Argus (Clare, SA) Fri 5 Feb 1897 Page 2


The premises of the old Clare Jam factory Company were secured, and although in their former shape not suitable for the purpose of wine cellars, have since been rendered eminently

  • so the additions and improvements,

  • a judicious expenditure of capital having worked wonders in that respect.

  • In the first place a cellar capable of storing 60,000 gallons of wine has been built on the south side of the old building.

  • There are two floors to the building, which is capable of holding 80 500-gallon vats, besides numerous smaller casks.

At present there are 15 of these vats in the cellar, with a number of 100-gallon casks, which contain the proceeds of last years vintage, which amounted to 11,000 gallons.


New machinery has been procured, consisting of a 4 horse-power Howard oil-engine, which drives a new grape crusher and an elevator, the engine room being on the north side of the building.

The crusher is situated in a dormer above the centre of the main building, and is capable of treating 45 tons of grapes a day, being fed by an elevator on the West side of the building.

Invitations were issued for the ceremony of starting the new machinery, which took place on Thursday afternoon, when a large crowd of people assembled.

Mr. T. Reed, J.P. (Mayor of Clare) started the machinery working. The crusher was worked satisfactorily for some time, and those present had a good exposition of the first process of wine-making.

When the crusher ceased working some of the wine made by the company was sampled by those present.

Mr. T. Reed, J.P. (Mayor of Clare) proposed success to the company.


Mr. John Christison thanked the previous speakers on behalf of himself and partners.

No credit was due to them, as they had vineyards, but some credit was due to the other partners —Dr. O. W. Smith and Mr. M. Badger— who had no interest in the matter, and who readily consented when asked to join in forming a company. 


They did not think as much capital would be required as had proved to be the case.

  • When they tried to sell their wine they could not, and

  • had to secure a first-class manager !o make it, so that they could store it.

  • They had the money they expended during the first two years locked up, and

  • in addition had had to face the vintage for the third year,

  • which as could be seen had cost a considerable sum of money.

  • The new machinery had cost £200,

  • while several hundred pounds were invested in casks, which had all been made in Clare,

  • for which they took credit to themselves.

Northern Argus (Clare, SA) Fri 12 Feb 1897 Page 2

Considerable outlay has been incurred in getting the cellars into working order to deal with the present vintage, but now,

  • with a crusher capable of crushing 45 tons of grapes a day,

  • a cellar in which 60,000 gallons of wine can be stored,

  • and £800 worth of casks in stock,

the company will be able to cope with the demands likely to be made upon it for at least two or three years to come.

  • The quantity of wine made last year at the cellars was 11,000 gallons,

  • but this year the quantity will be larger.


So far the company has not had a return of even a single shilling, while the outlay has been very large.

The company is to be congratulated upon the excellent premises it now possesses, and with the co-operation of the vine-growers in its operations will no doubt be successful in every respect.

By this time Joseph had expanded his vineyard planting, making him the largest grape contributor to the new company.

The Opening of the Stanley Cellars
Stanley Leasingham Wine Co board room 1.
Stanley Leasingham Wine Co board room 2.
Vineyard Of The Leasingham Winery Clare

Northern Argus (Clare, SA) Fri 11 Dec 1903 Page 2

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

On Tuesday evening a representative of

this paper waited on Mr. J. H. Knappstein, at his handsome residence, south of Clare, for the purpose of eliciting from him an account of his recent trip to Great Britain and the Continent.

Many of our readers are no doubt aware that Mr. Knappstein is a member of the Stanley Wine Company, and it was in the company's interests, and for the purpose of extending its connection with the wine markets of the old world, that he undertook the trip.

It will be interesting to the grape growers of the surrounding district to know that from a business point of view

Mr. Knappstein is well satisfied with the results of his efforts to introduce the Stanley wines to Continental, and British buyers

who previously had not had an opportunity of trying their merits,

and as a result he is hopeful, notwith-standing the present 'slump' in the wine trade, that the company will ultimately be able to purchase all the grapes grown in the Clare district.

Incidentally he mentioned that, despite all the advantages and advancement of the old world, he was well pleased to get back to South Australia and dear old Clare.

...Read much more -


Joseph travelled overseas.

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 has 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.


Joseph dies early

Just a few years later, in 1918 or 1919, Joseph died aged 60 years leaving behind a young family (Bill, the youngest, was only two at the time, and Mick seven years old, Jean eight years old) and a considerable estate:

  • The winery, a piggery, acres of farming land,

  • 50 acres of archard, and 200 acres of vines


"Probate was granted (August 1919) to the will of Mr. Joseph Hermann Knappstein, late of Clare, Vigneron, who died on June 19, 1918(?)"

"The estate is sworn not to exceed £53,000, and is left for the benefit of the widow and family of the testator";

  • and so the business was entrusted to the management of Elders Trustees.

History of Stanley Wine Co - Mr Mick -1.
Family Fortunes rebound
Family Fortunes rebound

From the time that Elders Trustee and Executors Co. took over the management of the company there was a steady decline in the business.

From 1919 to 1938, no dividend was paid, so eventually the family took over the business.

With legal assistance the family fought against the threat of Elders' winding up the business to pay Joseph's wife her annuity.

Bernie became the acting manager, although Elders appointed their own winery manager, to whom they paid £15 a week, a huge sum of money at the time, and who did little to justify this salary.

In 1935 the family took cuttings from the (barely productive) best vines and planted a further 14 acres of Rhine Riesling in 1936/1937, which saved the company.

The company fully returned to family hands in 1938, and was again paying a dividend within four years, after almost 20 years of mis-management by Elders Trustees.

Business Expansion

Friday 26 May 1939

The business founded by the pioneer Knappstein has been handed on, and to-day their extensive winery, orchards and vineyards is controlled by a board of directors of the family,

  • Mr. R. O. Knappstein being the chairman of directors and

  • manager of the gardening estates, while

  • Mr. B. J. Knappstein succeeded his late brother Fred as manager of the Stanley Wine Company.

This vast enterprise can truthfully be called a romance of industry of which any family might well be proud.

As a pioneer in this district he had few equals. Energy was the key note of his existence ..."


The planting programme accelerated after the war,

  • with land being purchased at Watervale and

  • grape varieties Riesling, Shiraz, Mataro and Grenache planted. 

  • Much of the wine was exported to Britain as the outlet for red wine in the colony was limited by the small population.


Fred was wine-maker and manager, but died in 1938. Bernie took over, but himself died in January 1954 of a heart attack.

The family thought that Bernie's death was disastrous, but they successfully employed young Bill Chambers, fresh from Roseworthy Agricultural College as the new wine maker.


Leasingham Added

In 1954 during a slump in the wine industry, Stanley bought about 50 acres at Leasingham, which was planted with Rhine Riesling. From this time, Stanley also supplied Lindemans with wine.

Alec Knappstein became winery manager, and adopted refrigeration with controlled and closed fermentation techniques. As a result, wine quality improved remarkably.

in 1958 Bill Chambers returned to his family business at Rutherglen, and Peter Weste was appointed winemaker.

In 1959 Stanley bought another 200 acres at Leasingham and planted more vineyards while supplying more wine to Lindemanns, Penfolds, Seppelts and Seaview.

In 1962 Alec died and Mitch Knappstein became managing director. Production increased enormously and Stanley supplied a large proportion of the wine industry.

In 1966 Peter Weste also left, and Tim Knappstein joined as winemaker in 1967.

With a crippling wine tax during the 1960's the family received over 10 offers for take-over or merger, so the family put a price on the business and eventually sold to H J Heinz in 1971, who paid $3,600,000 and continued amicably with Mitch Knappstein as manager until he retired in 1976, after which he stayed on as a consultant.

The Knappsteins retained key positions within The Stanley Wine Company, however, and held shares in it until 1976, by which time the company had grown far beyond what its original owners could ever have dreamed of.

And it was producing not only premium wines but the-then new-fangled Stanley Wine Cask. The Knappstein interest was retained until 1976, even though the Heinz Co. bought a controlling share in 1971.

With demand for the Wine Casks booming, the Heinz Corporation in 1984 bought the huge Buronga Winery on the NSW side of the Murray River opposite Mildura and expanded it even more to make the Casks there, while in 1988 the Hardy Wine Company bought the premium Clare Valley facilities.


Blyth Agriculturist (SA) Wed 22 Oct 1952 Page 4

At the 88th Clare Show, October 1952, with its all time record gate, this Journal

deems it expedient that we should pay tribute to the Secretarial duties of Mr. Alex. L. Knappstein, after 14 years of remarkable progress and organising, is now retiring.

For 19 years he has been on the Committee.

Firstly, away back in the 1890's of last century, his father, the late Mr. J. H. Knappstein, put his heart and soul into the productive effort of Clare Show. as a committee man.

This was on the old showground at Inchiquin. In the years that have intervened his wife, Mrs. J. H. Knappstein, of Donnybrook, and her daughter, Jean, have been regular

entrants in classes such as Arts and Industries, Floriculture, Cookery and the like.

As time went on Mr. R. O Knappstein, the elder son, graduated, from a steward and official to the committee and then to President during World War II.

Mr. Frank J. Knappstein, Manager of the Pavilion for very many years, has always

been a prolific entrant and prize-taker in Floriculture. His exhibitions of Pot Plants (Calceolaria) are recorded as being

worthy of show benches anywhere in the world.

  • The Stanley Wine Company of the Knappstein family (Mr. B. J. Knappstein, Manager) has always aided the Society since its foundation in 1894, and always has a stand of its products in the pavilion;

  • Mr. A. J. Knappstein (now in Springbank Hospital) was for many years a steward in the Pavilion.

  • Mr. Bob Knappstein, Chief steward for Pigeons, has seen that section grow to record proportions.

  • Mr. Hugh Knappstein (Bill) has been for a number of years assisting in the Secretary's Office on Show Day.

Then the late Mr. Fred W. Knappstein became Secretary for 11 year starting in 1926/1927.

He had much work to do in the transference from the old grounds at Inchiquin to the showgrounds of to-day.

With the advent of Mr. Alex L. Knappstein tn the office of Secretary organiser on the

death of his brother Fred, in 1938,

  • a new era commenced in which Alex's dynamic energy and personality,

  • forced the Society to the forefront, and

  • within a few years it became known as the largest one day Country Show in the Commonwealth.

For a few years a Sheep Show and Shearing exhibitions with a State Championship created fresh fields.

There has always been something new and refreshing at each annual exhibition under his organising genius.

  • Visit of Prime Minister Menzies;

  • State Governors;

  • Guards of Honor;

  • greatly enlarged Trade Exhibits and Side Shows.

  • Sheep, Cattle, Pigs, Poultry and Pigeon sections have increased by leaps and bounds.

  • Meadow and Lucerne Hay competitions and

  • Garden Competition and many other attractive sidelights have been In progress over the last 14 years.

Therefore, 'The Northern Argus" in

making these observations as a tribute, cannot close without impressing to the retiring Secretary, their thanks for many

kindly acts and thoughtfulness.

To Mrs. R. P. Shepley, the leader of Mr. Knapstein's staff; to Miss Valerie Hallett (typiste) and to other helpers during the last 14 years...   Read more:

Tribute to Knappstein Family
Business Expansion
Joseph travelled overseas
Joseph dies early
Leasingham Added
Stanley Colombard Chardonnay Cask 4L

History of the Wine Cask - Adelaide Advertiser

Mick Knappstein
Mick Knappstein
Clare wineries.jpg
Mr Mick - the restaurant.jpg
Mr Mick logo.png

Tim Adams was Knappstein’s last apprentice, and in 2010 Adams bought the old Leasingham winery where he worked with his mentor some 35 years prior.

Unable to use the Leasingham name, Adams decided to honour his mentor with the name Mr. Mick.


Mick Knappstein - Stanley Wine Company

Mick Knappstein, or Mr Mick, grew up with wine, with his father having established the Stanley Wine Company.

Knappstein was the man behind the Stanley Wine Company which became Stanley Leasingham, and then Leasingham.

Mick Knappstein’s vision gave much to the district and his legacy lingers on.

His passion as a vine grower led to the propagation of premium Riesling in the 1960s, and he had an uncanny ability to read wine trends.

Mr Mick was determined to remove the elitism from wine and is famed for hosting public educational tastings and winemakers dinners in an effort to demystify the wine making process. His statement was:  “flavorsome styles at very good prices”.

He was a leading force not only in Stanley Leasingham Wines but as also within many wine industry organisations. 

He was awarded life membership of the Wine and Brandy Producers Association and In 1987 he was awarded the Order of Australia for services to the wine industry.

Mick passed away in 1997 but is remembered annually by the Clare Valley Winemakers with the Mick Knappstein Trophy for the best current vintage Riesling, and as an inaugural inductee into the Clare Valley Winemakers Hall of Fame.

-  Our local wine legends by Keira James

Jane Mitchell’s stories of her early days in the industry illustrate both the generosity in sharing knowledge and camaraderie of Clare Valley wine industry stalwarts. 

“In 1977 I did vintage at the Stanley wine company. 

“I spent each morning at 6.30 with Mick (Knappstein) taking the temps and checking all the Bin 7 Riesling tanks during that vintage. 

“That time was very special and I remember fondly the conversations we had, which have left me with timeless memories."

-  Our local wine legends by Keira James


"Mr. Mick" (the old Stanley Wine Co. premises) is named after Mick Knappstein, the legendary winemaker and Clare Valley figure.

Tim Adams says "“Mr Mick, as a winemaker, tops the list of those I admire. I worked with him for 12 years and can seriously say I loved every minute. I learnt 90% of what I know today in those years.”

‘Mr Mick’ as he was known, nurtured the young Tim, even giving him financial assistance to do a Bachelor of Applied Science (Wine Science) by correspondence at Charles Sturt University;

Tim graduated in 1981 and by that time was Assistant Winemaker to ‘Mr Mick,’ and the following year was made Winemaker responsible for day-to-day operation of the winery that then employed 60 people.

Fulfilling a dream in 2009, Tim Adams bought the 80 hectare Rogers vineyard (Roger Bayes’ vineyard at Penwortham, named Churinga) where the legendary Leasingham bin 56 Cabernet Malbec was sourced.

He followed that in 2011 buying the venerable Leasingham winery.

“The wines that made me really want to make wine were the 1971 Leasingham Bin 56 and the Bin 7 Riesling that Mr Mick made while I was under his guidance.” Read more....

Tim Adams

Tim Adams was Knappstein’s last apprentice, and in 2010 Adams bought the old Leasingham winery where he worked with his mentor some 35 years prior.

Unable to use the Leasingham name, Adams decided to honour his mentor with the name Mr. Mick.

But the brand is more than just a name, as the philosophy around affordable, drinkable and innovative wines also pays homage to Knappstein.

Mick was a great innovator,” Adams says. “In the late ‘60s he was making Rosé from Grenache when everyone else was making fortifieds from it.

  • Mr Mick’s passion for Rosé dated back to the late 1960’s when his nephew had just qualified from University at Roseworthy. Keen to impress his uncle, he produced the first Rosé under Mr Mick’s watchful eye.

  • When I started here in ’75, as his last apprentice, we did all sorts of things with blends.

  • He would go outside the district if he felt that there was something we could sell through here, which was going to represent the ethos of the brand to make the best wine possible.

  • He would go outside the circle to find where that was or to find a blend, or make a blend, that was different than the norm of the time.”
     - The Adelaide Review

Later on:

Leasingham has experienced death by a thousand cuts.

  1. First, its then owner, CWA, sold its Rogers Vineyard to Tim Adams in 2009.

  2. CWA then unsuccessfully endeavoured to separately sell the winemaking equipment and cellar door, while retaining the winery.

  3. In January '11 Tim Adams purchased the winery, cellar door and winemaking equipment, making the once-proud Leasingham a virtual winery (or brand).

  4. The quality of the wines has not suffered.

It’s all change at Accolade Wines

Aug 29, 2019 by Huon Hooke in Wine News

Carlyle, is no doubt trying to sell the Accolade company at some stage and eventually make some money on its investment.

Moving in that direction, it has been selling off assets.

  • Last week it announced the sale of the Knappstein winery in Clare.

  • A week or so earlier, it announced the sale of the Stanley winery near Mildura.

Yinmore Wines Pty Ltd (a Chinese-owned company based in Kunming) will acquire the Knappstein winery, in the Clare township, five associated vineyards and the Knappstein label.

  • Known as Yinmore Wines, the company was linked to Chinese food and beverage manufacturing company Bright Foods through investors of Yinmore Sugar.

  • Yinmore had already established a foothold in South Australia after it purchased land in McLaren Vale last year.

    • Wickham Estate, and it's 24 hectares of vines, were sold to Yinmore for an undisclosed price.

Prized Riesling Brands

Accolade will continue to distribute the Knappstein range of wines until the new owners have finalised their sales and marketing strategy.

Excluded from the sale are Accolade’s two remaining Clare Valley vineyards, over which it will retain ownership to ensure supply of prized riesling grapes to its Petaluma, Hardys and Leasingham brands.

The Stanley Sunraysia winery has been sold to Duxton Group, which owns several Murray-Darling vineyards and is chaired by Ed Peter.

Production of Accolade’s Stanley range of wines will move to the company’s Berri winery.

Later on:

Tim Knappstein (illustrated left) is one of the wine industry's great survivors.

He started out in the Clare Valley in the late 1960s where his uncle Mick Knappstein was a winemaking legend at the Stanley Wine Company.

After serving his ''apprenticeship'' there, and appointed winemaker in 1967, Tim started his own company in 1969, Tim Knappstein Enterprise Wines, in the old Enterprise brewery in Clare, which he converted into a winery. Enterprise is a vineyard he planted.

It still bears his name today, although he hasn't owned it for many years.


Accolade Wines traces its beginning to Thomas Hardy and Sons, a company founded in 1853 which grew to become Australia's largest winemaker.

The company headquarters are in Old Reynella, South Australia.

BRL (Berri Renmano Ltd) Hardy was the second largest wine producer in Australia as a result of a 1992 merger between two wine companies that were struggling to stay afloat: BRL and Thomas Hardy and sons.

In 2003 BRL Hardy merged with Constellation Brands from the USA to form Constellation Wines, the world's largest wine business.

BRL Hardy was renamed the Hardy Wine Company, then in 2008 became Constellation Wines Australia, to create the world's largest international wine business - and it is now part of Accolade Wines - regional winemaking at its finest.


Constellation Brands sold 80% of Constellation Wines Australia, plus Constellation Europe, to CHAMP Private Equity. Constellation Brands retained 20%.

In 2017, CHAMP Private Equity scrapped plans to float Accolade on the Australian Securities Exchange, after overtures from Chinese buyers and a drop in the British pound due to Brexit.

In 2018, 100% of Accolade was sold to The Carlyle Group in 2018. United States private equity giant The Carlyle Group has $200 billion in assets around the world.

Accolade, owning brands including Hardys, Banrock Station, Grant Burge and Leasingham, was the second largest wine company in Australia behind Penfolds owner Treasury Wine Estates.

It had about 1000 employees in Australia including casual seasonal roles. It employed about 1500 globally and had large bottling operations in the United Kingdom.

Since acquiring an 80% stake in two separate Constellation Brands divisions for $AU290 million in 2011 to create Accolade, CHAMP has taken the business from break-even to an EBIT of around $100 million this financial year.


Sadly Constellation Wines mothballed the Leasingham cellar door and winery in 2009. Its closure numbed a district already in the throes of a grape oversupply crisis.

  • But its decision to abandon the winery deeply depressed the mood of the region.

  • Leasingham had been the largest winery in the region since the 1890s.

  • Its operations affected hundreds of families across the Clare Valley, especially those of independent grape growers.

  • At the time of Constellation’s decision, with winemaking assets already flooding the market and seemingly few buyers, locals feared the site, on the edge of Clare township, might be bulldozed for housing.

Constellation quickly found buyers for the Rogers, Dunns and Schoebers vineyards.

Then in December last year they offered the winemaking equipment and winery-cellar building for sale separately.

Fortunately, in January 2010 Tim Adams of Tim Adams Wines, stepped into the breach.


Adams, who began his winemaking life with Knappstein at Stanley, bought the Leasingham place lock, stock and almost barrel, although the brand was not part of the deal. It was under discussion, but then Adams had something of a vision.

“I woke up one morning," he says, “and it just came to me: Mr Mick! It all fitted." Mr Mick being the Stanley Leasingham workers’ affectionate name for Knappstein.

Leasingham wines.jpg
Tim Knappstein.jpg
Tim Knappstein
Accolade Wines

Biography of Tim Knappstein

Tim Knappstein was born on 22 October 1945 at Clare.

  • His grandfather started the Stanley Wine Co., his father was in sales.

  • Tim went to Roseworthy in 1964.

  • When he was 20 he was put in charge of Stanley's wine operations.

  • Talks about changes in fermentation, the Bin series, starting a vineyard with his mother which was taken over by Mildara, moving to Lenswood and making wine at several wineries

Tim Knappstein Oral histories at  SLSA

  1. Interview with Tim Knappstein [sound recording] Interviewer: Rob Linn, Part 1 of 2

  2. Interview with Tim Knappstein [sound recording] Interviewer: Rob Linn, Part 2 of 2
  3. Transcript
Tim Adams
MrMick's winemaker Tim Adams.png

Above: Tim Adams at Mr. Mick's

Below: Tim Adams of St Andrew's Wine Co.

Tim Knappstein – St Andrews Wine Company
History of Stanley Wine Co - Mr Mick.jpg
Leasingham timeline

1894 – Company founded by J.H. Knappstein and others

1895 – Opens for business in the old Clare Jam Factory

1900 or earlier – Making more wine than all other Clare wineries combined

1911 – J.H. Knappstein gains total control of the company

1971 – Knappstein family sells to H.J. Heinz

1988 – Thomas Hardy and Sons acquire the company

1992 – Thomas Hardy merges with the Berri-Renmano cooperative to become publicly listed BRL Hardy

2003 – Constellation Brands (USA) acquires BRL Hardy. Name changes to The Hardy Wine Company

2008 – The Hardy Wine Company becomes Constellation Wines Australia

2009 – Constellation Wines Australia closes Leasingham Winery and sells three vineyards but retains ownership of the Leasingham brand

2010 – Constellation offers Leasingham Winery and winemaking equipment for sale separately. Tim Adams and Pam Goldsack agree to buy winery and equipment as a going concern.

2011 – Tim Adams and Pam Goldsack settle on the winery and plan to launch a new Clare Valley wine range, Mr Mick, in honour of legendary winemaker Mick Knappstein.

CHAMP equity buys 80 per cent stake in Constellation’s wine assets, including the Leasingham brand, changing the company name to Accolade

-Tim Adams buys Clare’s Leasingham Winery 2 February 2011

Leasingham Timeline
Knappstein Enterprise Winery
About Knappstein Enterprise Winery

Steeped in history and synonymous with the Clare Valley in South Australia, the Knappstein Enterprise Winery has enjoyed a long and revered reputation as a maker of premium wines since it was established by Tim Knappstein in 1969.

Since those pioneering days, the winemaking focus has always remained to showcase the quality of fruit from the individual soils and climates of the local vineyards. 

  • Put simply, it’s about respecting the individual growing sites,

  • to create wines with identity and personality,

  • shown through their expression of varietal and regional attributes.


Our winemakers act as guardians of the vines, and caretakers of the wines. 

  • Their attention to detail and stringent quality focus are at the heart of our winemaking approach. 

  • The style of our wines has naturally evolved into more medium-bodied, fruit-driven wines,

  • that are inviting in their youth, yet also sophisticated with age.


We are proud to be an important part of the well-known wine making history in the Clare Valley.

  • Having some of the best vineyards in the region,

  • we are dedicated to a 'distinguished vineyards' philosophy.

  • With the full control of vineyard management and our long-term commitment to these sites,

  • we have forged the company's reputation as one of Australia's leading premium wine brands.


The cellar door and winery still operate in Clare from the original Enterprise Brewery building circa 1878, itself a listed heritage building and a major landmark of the Clare township.

Knappstein Family Tree
Knappstein Family Tree

- From Wikitree

Joseph Hermann Knappstein married his first wife Ruth Read (born on August 11 1865, in Canowie, SA), who died when 30 in 1894, and of this first family the children were:

  1. Phillip. H. Knappstein (b 08 Jun 1886 Clare, SA, d 07 Mar 1967), Winemaker at the Stanley Winery, until the family moved to Berri in 1935, as a Works Manager at the Berri Distillery.
    Wife Esther Crane — married 19 Nov 1910 in Burnside Christian Chapel, Adelaide, SA - parents of six children:

    1. Herbert Hermann Knappstein (b 02 Nov 1911 Clare, SA - d 21 Aug 1988), m. Hilda May d. aged 26 16 Aug 1941.

    2. Joan Knappstein (b 19 Apr 1914 Clare, SA - d 07 Aug 2012),

    3. Vera Knappstein (b 05 Aug 1915 Clare, SA - d 03 Apr 1998),

    4. Mary Phyllis Knappstein (b22 Jan 1918 Clare, SA - d 11 Dec 2002),

    5. Kathleen Clare Knappstein (b 08 Jun 1921 Clare, SA - d 2010), and

    6. Phillip Beaumont Knappstein (b 08 Jun 1921 Clare, SA - d 27 Mar 1994), married twice, with one child, Geoffrey (land agent of Clare).

  2. Robert Otto Knappstein Chairman of Directors of the Stanley Wine Company (b 02 Dec 1887 Clare, SA, d 16 Sep 1957), m. Beatrice Emily (born Bray).
    Parents of

    1. Marie Josephine Knappstein (born in 1925, 1986, d at age 60), Marie married Mr Goode in1953, at age 27

    2. Herman Joseph Knappstein,

    3. Robert Otto Junior (see left, moved to Napier NZ) and

    4. another sibling.

  3. Joseph Frances "Frank" Knappstein (b. 24 Jun 1889 Donnybrook near Clare, SA, d. 14 Apr 1973 in Clare, SA,
    married Annie Snashall (born on December 2 1892, in Clare)— on 10 Dec 1909 in Clare, SA.
    Parents of —

    1. Francis Knappstein ("Jack", B. 1910s. D. 1990s),

    2. Ruth Marie (Knappstein) Flynn (Born 13 Apr 1912 in Clare, SA, Died 21 Mar 1986 in Adelaide, SA) In one of the prettiest weddings of Clare Ruth  married April 3 1935, at the Clare Presbyterian Church, to Thomas Cook Flynn, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. T. C. Flynn, of Scotland. Ruth never wanted to celebrate her birthday on the 13th, she always celebrated her birthday on the 14th April.

    3. Joseph Herman Knappstein ("Joe",1917 - c.1965) Joseph was married in Adelaide to Marjorie. The newspaper notice of their divorce states divorce was granted on the 25 February 1947 on the grounds of desertion. and

    4. Hedley "Ted" Knappstein (1920s - 1980s) m. Phyllis MacKenzie at Scots Ch. North Tce. Aug. 19 1944, 4 p.m

  4. Fred William Knappstein (b 01 May 1891 Clare, SA, d 21 Dec 1938). Frederick served in the Armed forces during WWI. married Myrtle Florence Gill, and father of Douglas (m. Gwenda May, musician), Noel Betty. Brenda. and Judith. President of Clare Returned Soldiers' Association May 1930. Wife moved to Blyth street, Parkside after his early death.

Wins Gold Medal at Roseworthy College


 Blyth Agriculturist (SA) Thu 13 Mar 1947  Page 3 

AT the recent speech day of Roseworthy College, a Clare student at that institution was

  • awarded first class honors in the Oneology Diploma list, and

  • the Gold Medal presented by Mr. Leo Buring for the highest aggregate in all diploma subjects.

These awards were gained by Mr. Robert  Otto Knappstein, Junior, of South Clare.

The results are not only pleasing to Mr. Knappstein himself, but to his father and mother,


The student's father is of course Mr. Robert Otto Knappstein, Chairman of Directors of the Stanley Wine Company.


Alex Knappstein.JPG

In the late 1890’s Joseph met Mary McKay 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.

  • In Clare later on, dances given by Mrs. Knappstein (at Donneybrook House) were always looked forward to by the young people, as no effort is spared to ensure their pleasure.

They were

  1. Bob (Joseph Robert Knappstein, 1889-1973), Clare football captain June 1924. Chief steward for Pigeons 1953, Poultry fancier at Clare Show 1953. married Lilian Elizabeth Knappstein (born Lane, at age 29).

  2. Archie (Archibald Knappstein), returned injured from Tobruk and spent long and varying periods in Springbank Repatriation Hospital (over 2 years). Married at Clare 1925 to in 1928 to Edith Olive, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. E. March, of Esplanade, Semaphore, SA. Tim Knappstein is a son of this family.

  3. Bernie (Bernard, J.Knappstein), a bachelor. He lived with his mother, Mrs. J. H. Knappstein and sister, Miss Jean Knappstein at the family residence in South Clare, and was the Manager and Winemaker of the family enterprise known as The Stanley Wine Company Ltd., where the business man had many onerous and difficult conditions in the wine markets to attend to, and acquitted himself well and ably. Died Thursday, January 7, 1954, aged 49.

  4. Alex -  pictured left (Alexander Loudon Knappstein, auctioneer, Secretary and Organiser of the Clare Show). Mr. Knappstein was an energetic, versatile organiser and in 1945 became Secretary of the Clare Racing Club and was also Secretary of the Clare Trotting Club. Organised the Clare Show Garden Competition in 1952.
    From 1954 Alec was appointed Winery Manager for Stanley, and produced wines in high demand until his death in 1962. With brother Bill he ran 'Knappstein Agencies' with an office in Main Street of Clare.
    He married Dr. Mary Hallam Robinson, only child of Mr. and Mrs. W. V. Robinson, of Camberwell, Victoria, on June 8, 1938. Dr. Mary, during the War, helped professionally in Clare during the shortage of medical officers. Their daughter was Patricia, who moved to Launceston, Tasmania.

  5. Clem (Clement Knappstein), was employed by the Stanley firm on ordinary cellar duties.

  6. Jean Knappstein, lived in the family home, Donnybrook House.

  7. Karl Hubert (Carl Knappstein, known as Mick) 2 Feb 1912 - 26 Sep 1997. In 1985 legendary "Mr Mick" retired after 57 years at the Stanley Leasingham winery.

  8. Marie (infant Marie Augusta b 1914 who died in 1915)

  9. and Bill (known as Hugh, struck with malaria when posted to New Guinea), in 1942 married Gladys Leverington, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Leverington, of Orroroo.
    He worked at 'Knappstein Agencies' for brother Alex, where he was in charge of the machinery showrooms in Main Street Clare. Father of Josephine, who lived at Donnybrook.

Knappstein Military Service

Blyth Agriculturist (SA) Fri 20 Jun 1941 Page 1
The Families of Knappstein with Military Service.


—Sons of Mrs. J. H. Knappstein, Clare—

  • A.I.F.—Private Archie Knappstein,

  • Private Hugh Knappstein, RAF pilot and

  • Private Karl H. Knappstein,
    the latter having enlisted at a recent recruiting rally held at Clare.

—Sons of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Knappstein, Clare—

  • A.I.F. Bombardier Jack Knappstein, and

  • Private Joseph Knappstein.

—Son and daughter, of Mr. and Mrs. P. H. Knappstein, of Adelaide—

  • R.A.A.F.—Mr. P. H. Knappstein Junior, and

  • A.I.F. Nursing Service, Sister Vera Knappstein..

Back to Clare in November 1928


Events held during that week:

  • A Fancy Dress Carnival held on the Clare Oval held in aid of the Queen of Children (Miss Jean Knappstein);

  • a Bowling Green Dance held at Victorsen's Ingomar bowling green in aid of the Queen of Commerce (Miss Vera Gillen);

  • a Flannel Dance held in Clare Town Hall in aid of Queen of Sport (Miss Phyllis Harmer);

  • a Hayseed Dance in Clare Town Hall in aid of Queen of Agriculture (Miss Liela Roberts).


Other events included

  • a Strawberry Fete on the lawns of Mrs Diana Christison's home in Agnes Street, Clare;

  • a Bridge Evening in the Assembly Room of Clare Town Hall and

  • a Womens' Frolic, also in the Assembly Room.

Adams vineyards Image-10-8-20-at-3.34-pm
Tim Adams' Vineyards

This page is heavily derived from these two sources:

  1. A History of the Stanley Wine Company, by Knappstein, Mick -- Manuscript Pamphlet, 1994; Available at the State Library of SA, D Piece (Archival) (D 7202(T) photocopy). (see web version below)

    • This 8 page pamphlet is also available at the Clare History Room, Town Hall Clare SA (by request, in person, when open).

  2. Mr Mick -- Our Story, Mr. Mick Wines, Cellar Door and Kitchen, 7 Dominic Street Clare SA 5453, which is derived from Mr Mick's A History of the Stanley Wine Company (above)


Other Sources:

You may also enjoy

(Wendouree is also one of the oldest Clare Valley Wineries)

bottom of page