6 of the best Australian family-owned wineries
One of the defining trends we’ve noticed among Australian wine lovers of late is the desire to understand and appreciate the provenance of the wines they enjoy. As a result, more and more people are discovering the virtues of buying from Australian family-owned wineries.
Driving this rising interest in family-owned wines is a desire many have to seek out and embrace the truly authentic things in life. After all, the classic ‘family business’ has always epitomised that sense of provenance and place, with certain names carrying a reputation for being tried and true.
Fortunately, many of our country’s best wines are from locally owned, family-operated Australian wineries, making it easy for the everyday wine drinker to experience the pleasures of provenance. Being a family-owned business ourselves, it’s a trend we’re 100% on board with here at Wine Selectors!
And while Australia’s First Families of Wine are perhaps most widely recognised for their multi-generational contributions to the Australian wine story, there are many other family names behind the labels of great Australian wines that are worthy of your attention.
Here’s a little shortlist of those we consider to be among the ‘best of’ in Australia’s family-owned wineries. Perhaps you’ll find a new family favourite, to share with your own clan!
Located at the northern end of the Yarra Valley in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, Allinda Winery was established in 1990 by Al and Linda Fencaros.
Wine runs in the Fencaros family blood, with Al descending from a long line of winemakers. His grandparents made wine in Hungary, and then later in the region today called Serbia. His father brought the winemaking traditions of Al’s forebears to Australia after migrating here in the early 1960s, inspiring Al to start his journey into wine.
Together, Al and Linda focus on handcrafting wines of exceptional quality using purely biological practices that blend European traditions with Al’s training in wine science and applied chemistry.
Dealing in small parcels with strictly limited editions, Allinda is a stellar example of the kind of lineage and legacy Australia’s family-owned wineries embody, and we’re thrilled to have them as part of the Wine Selectors range.
A truly iconic Australian wine family and part of Australia’s First Families of Wine, few names evoke the spirit of the McLaren Vale region as well as d’Arenberg. Founded in 1912, today it is overseen by fourth-generation Chester Osborn. It was his father, d’Arry, who made the d’Arenberg name what it is today, giving its wines their distinctive red sash label.
Besides their highly celebrated wines – Grenache and Grenache blends being a particular speciality – d’Arenberg literally looms over the McLaren Vale landscape with the iconic d’Arenberg Cube, which houses restaurants, tasting rooms and a revolving collection of art and exhibitions.
Full of character, colour and personality – much like their maker, Chester – d’Arenberg red and white wines are among the country’s most popular. Indeed, the Australian wine industry would be all the poorer if it weren’t for the presence of the Osborn family and the d’Arenberg name!
3. LONG GULLY ESTATE
Founded in 1972 by the founder of Klapp Electronics, Reiner Klapp. For a time it soared as one of Australia’s most prestigious wineries, with its classic red and white wines being served on all Ansett flights as well as the Victorian Parliamentary dining room. Following Reiner’s death in 2009, however, Long Gully faced a challenging decade as it strove to maintain its relevance and quality.
Then, in 2018, the Magdziarz family – Robert, Irene and daughter Olivia, all of whom had fond memories of having met the Klapps in their own early days of winemaking – learnt that Long Gully had become available for purchase. Robert, with the aid of old friend Vin Lopes, is now the proud owner of Long Gully Estate – and a legend of Australian wine was reborn.
And what wonderful wines they are! Abiding by the motto ‘Artistry in Wine – continuing a family tradition’, Long Gully Estate has stayed true to Knapp’s old maxim, “Life’s too short to drink bad wine” with elegant and flavoursome expressions that are worthy of praise.
4. TYRRELL’S FAMILY WINEMAKERS
Few families are as woven into the fabric of Australian wine as the Tyrrell family. As much a part of the Hunter Valley as their Shiraz and Semillon vines, they’ve been an intrinsic part of the Australian winemaking landscape for over 160 years.
Led by Bruce Tyrrell with the aid of his sons John and Chris as well as daughter Jane, Tyrrell’s trace that exciting line between honouring the past and embracing the future. Part of Australia’s First Families of Wine, their contributions to the country’s winemaking history are immeasurable, and they’ve been credited with helping to popularise what are today two of Australia’s favourite wine varieties – Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.
Guided by the motto of their founder and forebear, Edward Tyrrell, who would say “Nothing is great unless it is good,” the Tyrrell family continues to be at the forefront of Australian winemaking, with wines that continue to impress each vintage for their class, character, and quality.
5. WISE WINE
Established in 1992 by the entrepreneurial Ron and Sandra Wise, Wise Wine has crafted a sensational reputation for itself for its high-quality expressions. The Wise vineyards incorporated two former estates, Jackson’s on Geographe and Eagle Bay Estate, to forge a unique presence on the Meelup property, encompassed by the Meelup Regional Park and the sublime coastlines of Geographe Bay.
With a team spearheaded by accomplished winemaker Larry Cherubino, the Wise winemaking philosophy is to source small parcels of the highest quality fruit, from top vineyards in regions best suited to growing specific grape varieties.
With a huge range of wines covering fortifieds and Sparklings as well as the classic varietals Margaret River does so well and some interesting blends, we expect the Wise family name will continue to stand for quality wine and exceptional value for a long time to come.
6. DE BORTOLI WINES
It would be impossible to tell the history of Australian wine without mention of the De Bortoli family. With over 90 years of winemaking behind them, their story is in many ways a tale of hard work, determination and triumph.
Indeed, few wine lovers would be unfamiliar with the De Bortoli name – the family has been behind some of the country’s most accessible and popular wines for decades now. From humble beginnings in Bilbul – just outside of Griffith, NSW – they’ve since gone on to establish vineyards in Victoria’s Yarra and King Valleys, as well as the Hunter Valley in NSW.
In the process, they’ve become one of the most recognised, and most-awarded, wineries in the country’s history – a testament to the enduring passion the family has brought to their work across four generations, inspired by the official De Bortoli motto, Semper ad Majora – ‘always striving for better’… as well as the unofficial one: ‘good food, good wine and good friends’!
Become part of the family with Wine Selectors
If you’re looking for authentic, family-owned Australian wine, our Wine Trends 2021 catalogue has you covered with our Family-Owned Finds collection.
Available in Mixed, Red or White dozens, Family-Owned Finds features great wines from each of the family wineries listed above, including classic Dry Red and Dry White wines from Tyrrell’s, two wines from De Bortoli’s inspired Grenache Wizardry range, charming wines from Long Gully Estate and a whole lot more – superb value at only $20 a bottle, with bonus wine included!
That’s right, order the Family-Owned Finds collection and you’ll also receive a bonus wine from another great family-owned winery, Howard Park! Buy a Mixed or Red dozen and receive a bottle of Howard Park Leston Shiraz 2016 (valued at $50 RRP), or buy a White dozen and get a bottle of Howard Park Miamup Chardonnay 2018.
It’s just one of many great offers available now as part of our Wine Trends 2021 catalogue – explore it now and keep on trend in the world of Australian wine with Wine Selectors!