The Vintage Journal - McLaren Vale Guide 2022



Although McLaren Vale had been surveyed by South Australia’s Deputy Surveyor John McLaren in 1839, it took some time before settlers arrived in any number. William Colton and Charles Hewitt were the first farmers to arrive, and over the next few years a trickle of new settlers acquired land, acknowledged by the McLaren Vale wine community and beyond as the traditional lands of the Kaurna people. The first grape vines in the Southern Vales area were planted at Surryville (near Hurtle Vale) in 1839 by John Reynell one of South Australia’s earliest vignerons. A few years later around 1841 a vineyard was established at Reynella Farm. The winery and family vineyards were located a fair distance north of McLaren Vale, but close enough to become an important part of the region’s social fabric and history. By 1841 there were only 12 settlers, 200 cattle, and 2000 sheep in McLaren Vale and it took a while until vineyards were planted. In June/July 1850 George Manning obtained sections 513 and 519 a few miles north of the twin settlements of Bellevue and Gloucester (renamed the town of McLaren Vale in 1923). The 161- acre property was called Hope Farm . Initially, George Manning planted Muscatel grapevine cuttings acquired from the Reverend Thomas Quinton Stow, who introduced Congregationalism to South Australia. By 1853 George Manning had acquired a further 84 acres of wheat and cattle grazing land. But farming techniques were not well-adapted to Australian conditions, and wheat yields diminished greatly. Perhaps inspired by the success of John Reynell at nearby Reynella, he expanded his vineyard to 30 acres and built a cellar at Hope Farm in 1855. By the early 1860s, Hope Farm was in full production, but intercolonial customs and tariffs to protect the wine industry in Victoria and New South Wales made commerce hard going.

McLaren Vale


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