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SOUTH AUSTRALIAN WINES IN ENGLAND.
Our special reporter at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition writes :—In one of my recent letters I mentioned that a number of experts in the wine trade had
attended the cellars at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition for the purpose of sampling our South Australian wines, and amongst others the representative of Marpct't Weekly Gazette, a journal de voted specially to the interests of the wine and spirit bade, and considered one of the best authorities in the matter of wine. The outcome of this has been the following interesting article in the last edition of the Gazette, which will n? doubt be read with great interest, not only by vignerons, but by those who look forward to South Australia taking the lead among the other colonies in the production ot wine, a position which, according to many of the connoisseurs here, she has already pf?** The article, which lam pleased to say, predicts a good future for our wines, is ss follows: — Thecu?tate of South Australia is ad jmittedjjf suitable to the cultivation of the
vine, aad no greater proof of its suita bility can be obtained than the steady strides of the development of the industry since the formation of the colony. With Bnch variety of climates and son's, vine yards equal to any in the older world can with care and experience be formed ; the plains around the city of Adelaide are capable of producing wines similar to those of the south of Spain, whereas the hilly districts are adapted to the growth of clarets and tbe lighter descriptions of wines. To this vast range of districts is to be attributed the great diversity of character to be found among the wine ex hibits from this colony in the present Exhibition at South Kensington. The honor of being the pioneer of the wine growing industry in the colony belongs to the late Mr. John Reynell, whose vine yard, situated about 12 miles south of Adelaide, was planted in the year 1840, which, increasing, gradually extended, after a period of 12 years, to 282 acres. The soil here is of a rich black character, and in good seasons the vineyard, princi pally planted with the Carbinet Sauvig non, produces a good full-bodied wine. We do not seem to have noticed any sample of the produce of this vineyard at the tasting recently held in the cellars of the Albert HalL From the date of the first pl?ntipg of the vine in this country up to 1559 the industry appears to have radually developed; at the latter date 2,200 acres were cultivated under vines. The extension of the industry progressed gradually till 1870, when we find 6,629 acres under cultivation. At this date a Berlous depression overtook the wine in dustries, the production rapidly overtook the demand, and many vignerons not having sufficient courage and experience became disheartened and discouraged, and many of the vines were uprooted. In 1879 there were only 4,114 acres of vines under cultivation, producing a yield of 313,000 gallons. Since that date, how ever, a fresh start was given to the in dustry, in no small measure due to the energy of Messrs. P. B. Biirgoyne ?fc Co., of London, to whom much praise is due for the introduction of the wine products of Australia into this country. Large parcels (from 10,000 to 20,000 gallons in a lot), under order from this firm, have done much to give an impetus to the trade, and have helped to give confidence and build op a future for their wines which cannot but be encouraging to the growers in the colonies. In forming an opinion upon the position taken up by these wine products in the colonies, it must be borne in mind that each colony imposes a heavy duty upon the import of the products of its neighbors, *?!"'? compelling the growers to find a pt?.rVf?t in other countries where duties are less prohibitive, and that market is nowhere to be found under better circumstances at the present time than in the mother country. The demand in the English m?4r?t? hit opened up a new field lor the colonial vigneron, luge purchasers giving an opportunity for toe the largera growers to purchase the growths of their neighbors in a smaller way of business, and the result Is that in the TWMfMinili?wifl of AngSSton alone SOXO6 1,000 seres have been added to the plantations during the present year. The latest statistics available—those for the year 1884 — show that there are 4,590 acres under vines, which yield 473,535 gallons of wine. As just stated, how ever, the planting of vines is being extended every year, so that those figures will not represent either the area of vineyard or the quantity of wine pro duced at the pnussul time. Space, how ever, will not allow us to follow minutely the history of the industry during the post fifty years; we must con tent ourselves by giving a few particulars of some of the vineyards, the products of which were placed before us by the onurtesy of the Boyal Commission of the colony, we do not nyfo^fl to extend our remarks to the produce of all the South Australian vineyards, but briefly refer to those which more prominently came under our notice at the recent testing at the T*l^**^! and Colonial Sx hibition. For the particulars of the win* indus tries of this colony, and for such particu lars as we give below of the various ex hibits, we are largely indebted to the in teresting and *nmprsjhfmmrt> handbook uf the colony compiled expressly for the Exhibition by *^r John Fairfax Conigrave, of Fmnimi ntrort. North *^?i?i?V Taking ?ha fif?t in np^PT of th^? TlllMlhftfl'V l We must refer to the Tintara vineyard, which was planted by Dr. KeDy some years sgo; it is situated some 30 miles south of Ailflain1!^ on ironstone ground, and was in 1878 purchased by Mr. Thomas Hardy. This enterprising vigneron has also vine yards in other afa***^ and especially may be mentioned that of Bankride, sKnated on the banks of the River Torrens, three miles west of Adelaide, Mr. Hardy is farther a large purchaser of tflf> pffOt3nCo d *xT"mn?3>|* yys>iorKlw^fiTiy YUI9 -yards, and to him the present satisfactory condition of the wine industry in the colony is hugely due. The sample shown of the Tintara, a light red wine, shoved good color and body, and might well hold in own with any European wine of the same character. The heavier sample o£ Shiraz £xom ffift Bank aide vineyard showed a wine of good port ?"hMTft*"1, but highly fortified. A vineyard of some seven teen acres, known as "Birkagate," and beautifully situated at Glen Osmond, ia planted with the best varieties of vines. We regret being nn?H^? to say *"T"*^ on the exhibits from +i"* vineyard, as of *-^I** three samples shown us, two white and one red, not one was in fit condition, the two whites being absolute vinegar. It would be interesting to trace the cause of this faHore, bat from the few facts we could leasn from those in authority little reason could be $***?& for HiA fpiiup of tills coincidence. An expert in the trade may excuse a defect of this description, but the public taste for the products of the colonies may be seriously prejudiced by coming across samples of this description. We regret that ""* samples shown us of die produce of the vineyards of Sir Samuel iWvenport, of strong red wines, were no exception to the samples previously described. The wines were in a condition totally unfit for exhibition, and and it is to be regretted that they should have been permitted to take a place upon the tasting table. In what is known as the MagQl vineyards is situated that of Mr. E. W. Wnght, consisting of about 25 acres, andfplanted with Muscatel grapes; these were originally intended for raisin making, but of late years have .been used for wine. Of ?amp" >? shown, the white Pedro was a clean good bodied wine of dark color; in reds, the Burgundy might be described as misnamed, showing a dean light red wine, of but ordinary character; the ShiraK showed a pleasant wine, light in body, but of decided mus catel flavor. In the Bame district, but higher up the foot hQls, Is situated the Grange vineyard, planted in 1849, and extended in 1859, by the late Dr. Pen fold. The present proprietors, Messrs. Penfold & Hyland, trading as Penfold and Co., may be congratulated upon the excellent condition of their exhibits, each one showing care and attention, which were sadly lacking in many other samplts shown. In white wines their Tokay showed very well, and met with much approval, and the Muscadine, a thin clean wine, was good of the kind, but hardly \ suitable to the market here. Of red wines, by far the best showed by this firm was the " Grenache," a good wine with fine j bouquet, which was picked out by several ' experts as the best sample of wine exhi bited. Higher up the hills, and beauti- j fully situated, is the "Auldana" vineyard, ' 120 acres in extent. The wines from this ! vineyard have long been known in this market, and the samples of white shown at the Exhibition were generally ap proved ; the "Auldana Cup," a fine wine with decided character, being reckoned the best. This vineyard was commenced as early as 1846 by the late Patrick Auld, who completed his planting in 1856.
Over the hills is " Highercom.be" vineyard, (12 miles from Adelaide, at an elevation of 1,500 feet above the sea, the property of the Hon. R. D. Ross, Speaker of the House of Assembly. The vineyard is about 45 acres in extent, and was partly planted 45 years ago, thus Laying claim to be the oldest vineyard in South Australia. The climate and soil are well suited to the select varieties of grapes, from which Mr. Bobs makes the red and white Higher combe wines, which have long been known in the London market. North of Ade laide there are no vineyards until the Para is reached, 12 miles from the city, where, on the rich alluvial flats, are several small vineyards, which produce the finest Muscatel grapes for raiains. On the Gawier River there are a few small vineyards. East of Gawier, and about 35 miles from Adelaide, is the South Rhine vineyard, comprising about CO acres, which were planted by the late Mr. David RandalL The produce of Hub vineyard is now annually pur chased by Mr. B. Seppelt, of Sap peltsfield. After leaving Gawier a few miles some fine vineyard country is reached. The first of importance is that of Moorooroo, the property of Mr. William Jacob. To the eastward, and situated in a lovely piece of country, is Pewsey Yale, tie property of Mr. Win. Gilbert, whose father—the late Mr. Joseph Gilbert—was a great enthusiast in viticulture. The produce of this vine yard, which consists principally of Car binetand Reialing, has accumulated in an extensive cellar, where at least 10 vin tages are represented in the stock on hand. Mr. Gilbert shows only two of bis wines at the Exhibition—a white Ries ling, a light rather thin wine, but clean with good relish; and a red, Carbinet, a pleasant wine of a thin Burgundy type. About Tanunda—a German settlement— are a number of small vineyards, the pro duce of nearly all of which is now sold to large vignerons, chief among whom in this locality is Mr. B. Seppelt. At his resi dence, Seppeltsfield, he has about 80 acres of vines, principally the Doradilla and Mataro, and he is the purchaser of large quantities of grapes grown in the neighbor hood. Mr. Seppelt is represented at the Exhibition by many various wines, but we cannot speak very highly of the samples shown us. Of the red wines his claret was decidedly the best, the others being somewhat coarse and stalky. In whites the best of bis samples was the Blanquette, a delicate wine of pleasing character. At Angwton, one of the prettiest parts of the colony, are the vineyards of Messrs. W. Salter & Son and of Messrs. S. Smith & Son. The vineyard belonging to the former firm comprises about 40 acres, and turns out from 14 000 to 20,000 gallons annually of full-bodied red and white wines of the Port and Sherry type. Both these firms have wines at the Exhibition, but they cill for no special comment. In conclusion we must speak favorably of the wine exhibits from this colony, which evidently have received attention and careful T"#"lpnlatjon, sod, generally speaking, are in good condition. One impor tant fact struck us, and that is that the cooperage is decidedly better than is the case with some of the exhibits from other colonies. Tbe casks are not only in good condition, but are well made, and there are fewer specimens of old brandy and other casks. It is certainlysatisfactory to thus testify to the good qualities of the wine from one of our largest colonies, and with a little more knowledge of the require ments for the home market there f^n^ be a good future for South Australian wines. We are not merely expressing our own opinions, but those of many gentlemen in the trade, who have taken an interest in the exhibits, and have carefully tastad and examine them.