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Clare's Wine Adventurers

"Clare arrived at a turning point in its existence in 1895 — when wheat growing for profit was played out, so wine making and fruit growing were going to resuscitate Clare." By 1898 'Stanley' wines had already achieved an excellent reputation.

Manager Mr. Basedow had an offer from a firm of wine merchants to buy every gallon of wine in the cellars at a rewarding price, but he preferred to keep a good stock for maturing purposes.

He had no difficulty in selling any wine he wished to dispose of.

Now Stanley is the biggest winery in Australia.


Clare's earliest Wineries:
  1. Sevenhill Winery: First Vintage: 1856 Brother John Schreiner, founding vintner. planted 1851

  2. Buring & Sobels, then Quelltaler: 1868 Carl Sobels, vintner, then half-owner After a recent purchase, the Quelltaler trademark belongs to Seppeltsfield Winery.

  3. A.P. Birks, now Wendouree: 1893 Founder: Alfred Percy Birks

  4. Stanley Winery, now Mr Mick: 1893 In 1912 Joseph Knappstein took complete control but he died in 1919. (First wine delivered was from AP Birks at Wendouree) Read more: Clare Museum | Joseph Knappstein Now part of Accolade

The Roman Catholic Church and college at Sevenhill are a striking testimony to the productiveness of the surrounding country in the early days.

The massive and substantial cellars are built to last till doomsday. ​

Brother Storey, who has been at Seven Hills for 32 years, and who has only been to Adelaide once in that time, welcomed visitors.

Brother Storey, who has always a cheery smile and a kindly word for visitors, makes the wine.

A journalist asked him if Archbishop O'Reily (illustrated at left) ever visited Seven Hills.

Brother Storey said in his quaint way, "Yes, but he says we cannot make wine for sour grapes.

Will you have a glass? Wasn't that delicious?"

Of course we all had a drink, and admitted even at the risk of disagreeing with the Archbishop that it wasn't a bad wine either.


The very first Jesuit winemaker, Br. J. Schreiner, was Vigneron at Sevenhill Cellars from 1851-1884 when Brother Lenz arrived from Austria. Brother Storey came from Ireland in 1889 and stayed for 28 years.


Brother John May

ABC interview: Brother John May is something of an institution at Seven Hill cellars. Now 80 years old (in 2002) he's lived there for more than half his life.

"I've been here for about 46 years and 32 years of those was wine maker manager and now I try to be useful." And a number of the wine makers were buried here as well, weren't they?

"Yes, there's Brother Story and Florian and Brother John Hanlon up here, my predecessor." When Brother John stood down from his role as chief wine maker in 2003 he was the last of the Jesuit wine makers at Seven Hill.

"I think I had my first glass of wine with Jim and Nancy Barry at their table. I realised that no way in the world could I stay in this job and not drink—I felt a hypocrite tasting and spitting it out, which you had to do in any case. I thought well, this is being hypocritical.

Jim was at Clarevale Co-op then.

The very first Jesuit winemaker, Br. J. Schreiner, was Vigneron at Sevenhill Cellars from 1851-1884 when Brother Lenz arrived from Austria. Brother Storey came from Ireland in 1889 and stayed for 28 years.


Read much more: Clare's Wine Adventurers



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