Although Australia’s wine industry is dominated with a few very large corporations, there are more than 2000 small and mid-sized wineries that produce excellent wines, and export many.
D’Arenberg is one of these mid-sized wineries with an excellent reputation.
The winery was established in 1912 by the teetotal any lay preacher John Osborn. It represents both the “old” and the “new” of the Australian wine industry in many aspects.
During the 1960’s and 1970’s, Francis d’Arenberg Osborn (grandson of the founder) established, almost single-handedly, the McLaren Vale. Today, this region is considered one of the most progressive and important of Australia.
vineyards are approximately 50 years old; yield is naturally low, but quality is high.
Whereas most wineries use pneumatic bladder presses to crush the grapes, d’Arenberg still prefers to use two basket presses that were designed in 1860. Some grapes are even foot-trodden, and for the fermenting process open fermenters are employed, while practically all Australian wineries prefer stainless steel tanks.
Winemakers find “old” techniques to be still better for quality but in order to ensure fruit quality, high technology remote moisture probes are employed at D’Arenberg.
The probes communicate directly with a computer in d’Arenberg offices to initiate irrigation or stop. Talk about vine stressing!
Quality has always been considered more important than profit, and D’Arenberg wines show how much effort is employed after grapes arrive at the winery. Company-owned vineyards
are meticulously cared for, and the fruit is hand harvested in small baskets to avoid bruising.
The winery’s products feature names that sound unusual: Stump Jump, White Ochre, Broken Fishplate, other Side, Hermit Crab, Money Spider, Last Ditch, Peppermint, Paddock just to name a few.
The back labels of D’Arenderg labels provide information about the origins of the name, and technical data few other wineries seem to be willing to share.
Robert Parker, the lawyer turned wine writer and critique, praised the winery for its quality and philosophy of wine making.
He considers D’Arenberg wines
amongst the best Australia produces.