The Tyrrell family can actually trace their roots back to William the Conqueror. However it was English immigrant Edward Tyrrell who arrived in Australia in 1854 and four years later took up a 320 acre concessional allotment in the Hunter Valley in the lee of the Brokenback Range in New South Wales. He named the property Ashman's after his maternal mother's ancestral home in the county of Suffolk. Edward planted Shiraz and Semillon and Tyrrell's winery was founded in 1858 and his first vintage was in 1864. Edward's first home, an ironbark slab hut, still stands today. Edward George “Dan” Tyrrell, the eldest of Edward's 10 children, was only 18 when he took over as winemaker in 1889. He was to oversee an astonishing 69 vintages helped by his younger brother Avery, whose conscientious vineyard management provides the exceptional fruit that is the backbone of Tyrrell's wines today. In 1959 Avery's son Murray assumed winemaking duties and in 1961 created the Private Bin system, where grapes from the best vineyard sites are matured in individual vats, with the resulting wines named after the vats from which they originate. In 1965, with the help of wine legend Len Evans, Murray created the Winemaker's Selection range representing the very best wines of each vintage, beginning with Vat 5 and Vat 9 Shiraz, Vat 8 Shiraz Cabernet, and Vat 11 Dry Red. 1963 saw the first release of the now famous Vat 1 Hunter Semillon, which went on to become Australia's most awarded white wine, with almost 5,500 medals and more than 330 trophies. It is arguably the worlds finest Semillon. In 1989 Bruce Tyrrell hid 1,000 cases of this from his father and when it was released in 1996, the world was introduced to the extraordinary evolution of which the Semillon grape variety is capable. In 1968 Murray planted Tyrrell's first Chardonnay vines. These were cuttings from Penfold's HVD vineyard, and the resulting Vat 47 Chardonnay became Australia's first commercial Chardonnay when it was released three years later. Tyrrell's pioneered Pinot Noir in the Hunter Valley, planting just two acres in 1972. They were vindicated in 1979 when their Vat 6 1976 Pinot Noir won the first Olympics of Wine in Paris, organised by the French food and wine magazine Gault-Millau, beating 3330 other wines from 33 countries. In 1983 Tyrrell's began to expand, leasing, purchasing or entering into grape-buying arrangements with some of the very best vineyard sites in the Hunter Valley, eventually swelling the single vineyard range to 9 premium Hunter Valley Wines. In 1994 they acquired a 32 hectare site in Heathcote in Victoria and planted with Shiraz: the fruit from here makes their Rufus Stone wines. Murray's son Bruce joined the company in 1974, taking over from his father as managing Director in 2000, and heads up the company today. Bruce's son Chris joined his father the following year, representing the 5th generation of the Tyrrell family, ensuring the legacy of this iconic winery continues. In 2009 Tyrrell's joined Australia's First Families of Wine - one of only 11 family-owned multi-generational families in the country. In 2004 Bruce inaugurated the Second Sites range, which only uses grapes from vines that are over 100 years old on their own roots. Most of these come from the Busby collection brought to Australia from Europe and planted in the Hunter Valley in 1832. There are only 11 vineyard blocks in the Hunter Valley that contain vines that are over a century old, and Tyrrell's owns three of them. Tyrrell's Old Patch Shiraz was planted in 1867 and is now the oldest vineyard in New South Wales. This wine has been thrice awarded the perfect 100-point score from James Suckling. Tyrrrell's farm sustainably and are a member of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia. Tyrrell's produce a broad portfolio of wines to suit every pocket, entry level to icon crafted with the same meticulous attention to detail. From humble beginnings in that old ironbark slab hut, Tyrrell's have grown into a global phenomenon exporting 17,000 dozen-bottle cases to over 30 countries annually – they are a national treasure!