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Seppeltsfield

Seppeltsfield is one of the oldest wineries in Australia. Its rich history began in 1851 when Silesian immigrant Joseph Ernst Seppelt bought 158 acres of land for £1 an acre in the western Barossa Valley and named it Seppeltsfield. This was just 15 years after the European settlement of South Australia. Joseph was a merchant who sold commodities including tobacco and liqueurs and his original intention was to grow tobacco, but the land he had purchased was not economically suitable for the cultivation of this crop. It was, however, suitable for wheat and, due to the 1850's gold rush, wheat was in high demand and the family was able to sell it for good prices. With Joseph's knowledge of liqueurs, he saw that there was an opportunity for wine production so he planted vines which flourished and the production of J.E. Seppelt wines began. In 1867 the construction of the cellar was underway, but Joseph died the following year and did not see its completion. His eldest son, Oscar Benno Pedro Seppelt (known as Benno) inherited 55% of the winery, with his younger son Victor, and daughter Ottilie inheriting 30% and 15% respectively. Later Benno bought out his siblings leaving him with full control of the winery. Benno grew the business, expanding the vineyards and wineries across various regions. Under Benno's ownership Seppelt gained a reputation for quality wine, and by the turn of the century they were the largest wine producer in Australia. The cellar was finally completed in 1878, and to celebrate Benno chose a puncheon of his finest wine and declared that the barrel would be allowed to mature for 100 years. Seppeltsfield are world famous for their unique Centennial Collection, a continuous lineage of Tawny from every vintage from 1878 to the current year – they are the only winery in the world to release a 100 year old, single vintage wine each year! This 100-year-old Para Tawny is their signature wine, first released in 1978, 100 years after Benno made his famous declaration. In 1888 a gravity cellar was constructed - this was a building of engineering brilliance for the time. Seppelt had a speciality line in tonic wines: “Invalid port”, “Hospital brandy” and “Quinine champagne” which were promoted for their heath-giving properties and frequently prescribed by doctors in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Benno and his wife Hedwig had 16 children, and in 1992 set up B Seppelt & Sons Ltd. Following his retirement in 1916, Benno's oldest surviving son Oscar became managing director. Seppelt remained in family hands until 1985, when a share market struggle for control resulted in nearly three decades of corporate ownership, starting with SA Brewing Holdings, who named all of their wine holdings “The Penfolds Wine Group”, and then in 1994 “Southcorp Wines”. In 2005 Foster's Group acquired Southcorp, and in 2007 ownership changed again when the Seppeltsfield Estate Trust purchased it from the Foster's Group, and began to use the Seppeltsfield name on their labels. In 2013 the then managing director, Warren Randall, became the majority shareholder with 90% of the shares. Randall has developed Seppeltsfield's vineyard holdings and restored its 12 historic listed buildings, including the 1888 gravity flow cellars. The iconic estate is instantly recognisable by its 2000 exotic Canary Island palm trees, which form a 5 kilometre trail lining the road to the estate. They were planted during the Great Depression in the 1930's by Seppeltsfield's workers, who were kept on at great expense during this time when few could afford to buy wine. Instead the employees were set to work planting what is affectionately called “The Avenue of Hopes and Dreams”. Seppeltsfield are a national treasure!

www.seppeltsfield.com.au