Wine industry pioneer Johann Gramp
Johann Gramp

Many of the well-known names in the South Australian wine industry established their first vineyards in the late 1930s and 1840s. John Reynell planted vines in McLaren Vale in 1839, Penfold’s Magill vineyard was established on the outskirts of Adelaide in 1844 and the Barossa’s Jacob’s Creek vineyard was planted by Johann Gramp in 1847. >The Wine Industry of Australia 1788-1979

The early settlers in South Australia wasted no time in planting vineyards. By 1837, within a year of the first arrivals in Adelaide, vineyards had been planted around the city.  In 1840, a number of colonists banded together to form the Society for the Introduction of Vines and the following year they imported 57,000 cuttings of various varieties from South Africa.

The first vines in McLaren Vale, south of Adelaide were planted by John Reynell at his property Reynella in 1839. In 1850, Thomas Hardy began working with Reynell, going on to establish his own property, Bankside, in 1853.

While McLaren Vale may have been the birthplace of the South Australian wine industry, other regions were not far behind. The explorer John Horrocks planted the first vines at Penwortham in the Clare Valley in the early 1840s, at around the same time that Edward John Gleeson (the founder of Clare) also planted approximately 800 vines at Inchiquin.  They were followed in the 1850s by the Jesuits of Sevenhill, who still make wine today in the oldest existing winery in South Australia.

The Barossa Valley settlement was founded by George Fife Angas, a wealthy English shipping merchant, who was active in promoting the new colony of South Australia. He financed three ships that brought Silesian Lutherans from Hamburg. They arrived in Bethany in 1842 and found the area suitable for fruit growing – particularly grapes. Over the following decades the wine industry developed in the area. Four of the 12 oldest wine brands in Australia are based in Barossa: Penfolds, Orlando, Seppeltsfield and Yalumba.