Australia’s 19th century colonial vine stock heritage is one of the most fascinating stories in the world of wine. Before the spread of phylloxera into Europe during the 1850s, the early settlers collected grape vines in the form or seeds and cuttings from English wall gardens and nurserymen, and from travels into Spain, France and Italy. Many early importations came from Madeira, Rio de Janeiro and the Cape of Good Hope. The genetic vine stock originally brought in by Alexander Riley, James Busby and Didier Joubert during the 1830s were distributed across the Australian colonies from nurseries, including Thomas Shepherd at Darlington and William Macarthur at Camden. Rootlings or cuttings were also exchanged between vigneron as plantings became more widespread.
Through the prism of Langton’s Classification of Australian wine, Andrew Caillard, MW, will discuss the rich history of Australia’s classic grape varieties, the transmission of colonial vine stock material and the development of a truly brilliant Australian wine aesthetic. Through generations of effort, hardships, visions and luck, Australia’s fine wine scene offers a unique, evocative and unparalleled experience. The tasting comprises many of Australia’s great wines of the 21st century, and illustrates the enduring quality and identity of the country’s wine regions and distinctive house styles.