Early Great Western label

Museum of Victoria

In 1865, brothers Joseph and Henry Best established vineyards at Great Western in Victoria.  The Bests hired unemployed miners to create tunnels, or ‘drives’, where wine could be stored under their new winery. The Great Western vineyards and cellar were bought by a Ballarat businessman, Hans Irvine, in 1888. Irvine employed a French champagne maker to create sparkling wines in the true ‘methode champenoise” and promoted his wines locally and overseas. Irvine sold to Seppelt in 1918.