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Richmond Grove Wines maxim proclaims special wines from special places, and Richmond Grove is nested in its own special place, in the Barossa Valley town of Tanunda
Richmond Grove believe that to make the best wine, the grapes must be selected from the region most suited to that particular grape variety. For this reason the estate sources grapes from across Australia's most renowned wine making districts to create a portfolio of wines that showcases the distinctive characters of geographical regions within Australia.
Richmond Grove began life more than a century ago in 1897 when Ernst Gottlieb Hoffman (better known as E.G.), having inherited his father's fertile mixed farm and orange grove, began to establish a winery on the river bank. E.G.'s father was among the original Lutheran settlers from Silesia who had left Germany in the mid-nineteenth century to escape religious persecution. E.G. had 120 acres of land. Retaining his father's grove of 100 Washington Navel and Parramatta orange trees as well as 30 acres of bushland, he planted the remainder of his property with vines. E.G. chose to call his vineyard and winery Orange Grove Wine Cellars and the first wines were released in 1897.
At its peak, Orange Grove was crushing 500 tons of grapes, producing between 80,000 and 85,000 gallons of wine. Much of the wine was sold wholesale for export to the United Kingdom or for Port. E.G. also sold his wine under his own Orange Grove Wine Cellars label, mainly to hotels in the Barossa Valley, Adelaide, and even as far as country Victoria. He proudly made deliveries with his own horse and dray. In 1945 E.G. sold Orange Grove to Leo Buring, 68 years old and a leading figure in the Australian Wine Industry.
Orange Grove became Leo Buring's Chateau Leonay, named after his property at Emu Plains in New South Wales. Buring began to rebuild the winery, adding turrets to its corners and also planning to incorporate huge towers. He improved winery plant and equipment and designed new labels, which featured a drawing of his dream winery to be built in the style of a Flemish Chateau. In 1955, a year before his retirement, Buring appointed as winemaker a promising young Roseworthy graduate, John Vickery.
In 1962 Chateau Leonay became a subsidiary of Lindemans, which focussed on upgrading the winery by introducing the most modern plant and equipment. The Richmond Grove label's original vineyard was planted in 1974 at Sandy Hollow in the upper Hunter Valley, and the first wines from the Sandy Hollow vineyard under the Richmond Grove label appeared on the market in 1977. John Vickery transferred to Lindemans at Coonawarra in 1973, with the task of enhancing its red wines, which resulted in the prestigious 1981 Jimmy Watson Trophy.
As an Upper Hunter Valley Winery founded in 1973, Richmond Grove had enjoyed considerable success throughout the 1980's, particularly in New South Wales. As a result, it needed to expand nationally and considered the assets of Chateau Leonay ideal, with its beautiful setting, high quality vineyards, state-of-the-art technology and its legendary winemaker. Thus in 1993 Chateau Leonay was renamed Richmond Grove.
Richmond Grove was delighted that Australian winemaking icon, John Vickery, agreed to stay on with the company as Chief Winemaker, supervising all winemaking with his talented team. Almost 50 vintages later, he still calls Richmond Grove home. John is revered by many as one of Australia's most influential and successful winemakers. Since 1955, John has amassed more than 50 trophies and 400 gold medals for his white wines and 35 trophies and 200 medals for his red wines.
The Richmond Grove winery has splendid facilities, the Orangery and Paddock Cellar performance and exhibition spaces, the stylish Cellar Door and the wonderful riverside Amphitheatre. Richmond Grove sponsors Jazz concerts to encourage and to promote South Australia's outstanding younger musicians, and plays host to many other special events each year.
Today, under the management of Richmond Grove winemaker Steve Clarkson and with John Vickery's guidence this famous winery is producing premium regional varietal wines sourced from Australia's finest wine regions.
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