Before we could appreciate the astounding Australian wines of today, we had to learn how to grow and tend the vines that produce them. Beautifully reproduced with a new foreword by award-winning Penfolds winemaker Peter Gago, The Vine in Australia takes us back to the beginning.
Born of necessity following many failures when wine was first produced in Australia, winemaker AC Kelly’s book was a huge success in 1861, and was so popular it was reprinted the following year. The Vine in Australia introduced wine chemistry and modern science to Australian wine makers battling with the new soil and climate. Kelly’s visionary book did much to establish Australian technical expertise in viticulture at a time when the country was awash with bad wine, its drinkers accustomed to the coarse wines of Spain and Portugal.
During Kelly’s day, winemaking was a new and untried enterprise. But thanks to this book, in just 200 years, Australia’s wine industry grew from a few meagre plantings, to an industry renowned throughout the world.
See how it all started...
Alexander Charles Kelly (1811-1877) was a winegrower and medical practitioner, born in Leith, Scotland. Kelly practised medicine in Scotland before becoming a surgeon aboard an East India Co. Ship. He migrated to South Australia in 1840 and planted his first vineyard in Adelaide five years later. Kelly drew on the writings of French authorities for his extraordinary first book, The Vine in Australia: its culture and management and forever changed the practice of viticulture in Australia.
A former science teacher, Peter Gago joined Penfolds in 1989, and is only the fourth person to be entrusted with Australia’s greatest wine, Grange. Peter took over as chief winemaker in 2002 and heads a vastly talented winemaking team. In 2006 he was awarded Winemaker of the Year by the prestigious US Wine Enthusiast Magazine.