Nov 01: Brown Brothers, Tahbilk, Campbells, Yalumba, Henschke, d’Arenberg, Tyrrell’s, Taylors, Jim Barry, McWilliams and Howard Park, the eleven family-owned high quality producers which banded together in 2009 to form Australia’s First Families of Wine, celebrate their 10th anniversary this year with a luxe coffee table book- ‘Australia’s First Families of Wine’ to be released on November 5, reports Subhash Arora
With 5,000 hAs of vines in control together in 16 wine regions of Australia and the passion of over 48 generations of these like-minded families and 1310 years of collective winemaking experience, makes them a formidable force in Australia and the rest of the world, including India to some extent and have helped change the narrative about the history, provenance and quality of Australian premium wine with stories that form the golden thread that connects them. They have been travelling together globally as a group sharing their wine stories, experiences and success stories.
Celebrating the 10 year of togetherness they are bringing out a coffee table book costing A $70 and titled simply Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW) published by Melbourne University Press and to be released on November 5. Written by respected writer and journalist Richard Allen, with captivating photography by Kim Baker, delves deep into the history, hardship, challenges, successes and forecasts of these iconic and important wine families and the vineyards and businesses they have built.
The book looks beyond the vineyards and wineries into the homes of these families to give you glimpses of the recent history of Australian wines. For instance you learn that till only 40 years ago, women had little say in winemaking with only men controlling the business. When Colin Campbell and his wife Prue, owners of Campbell's winery in Victoria, had their third daughter born in 1977, they even received a few letters of condolence. Today the winery is being successfully run by the same three daughters in Victoria's Yarra Valley.
Taylors Wines, of the Clare Valley in South Australia was one of the first wineries in Australia and in fact the world to use 100% screw caps on their bottles. Customers in UK loved it, and the sales increased. Katherine Brown, fourth-generation winemaker at the iconic Brown Brothers takes delight in quoting her uncle, John Graham Brown who used to say, “If you don’t ruin one wine a year, you’re not working hard enough”.
Wines, wineries aren’t just about wines, grapevines and production. As often stressed by delWine, ‘A family winery is not just the wine in the bottle. It’s the soil under your fingernails, it’s storms and spring sunshine, tears and laughter, and customers who become family friends, ’ according to Campbell winery.
Australia’s First Families of Wine also beautifully showcases the colourful histories of these spectacular vineyards and historic buildings, exploring the wine industry's transformation into an export-earning powerhouse and detailing the challenges of taking old family businesses into the 21st century. The vivid, stunning photography of sprawling vineyards, cellars, wineries and photos from the family archives brings these stories together. With a foreword by Australia’s leading wine commentator, James Halliday AM, this book is undoubtedly a ‘must have’ for any connoisseur and Australian wine lover.
Chairman of the AFFW group, fifth generation winemaker Stephen Henschke, says “It is now a decade since our families came together to help build the profile of premium Australian wine and tell the stories behind every bottle of wine we craft. This book encapsulates our families’ stories perfectly and the reader is taken behind the scenes and into our homes. It is a celebration of our 10-year anniversary with a nod to the next chapter of Australia’s First Families of Wine.”
AFFW is seemingly modelled after Primum Familiae Vini (PFV), a group of 12 global iconic wineries, primarily European who travel together to tell their stories around their wines at various wine shows and visits to particular countries-the last one in Mumbai in 2007. For details, visit www.pfv.org .
The book is available through all good booksellers from November 5. RRP: $69.99. For pre-orders click https://www.mup.com.au
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