Yalumba Wines

Having just turned 35, Samuel Smith departs his hometown of Wareham, Dorset with his wife Mary and their four children. Boarding a three-masted barque called China, the family set sail from Plymouth to Port Adelaide, arriving 11 days before Christmas. After a short time in Adelaide, the family load their possessions into a dray and trek north to a small settlement called Angaston. Samuel works as a gardener for the town’s eponymous Angas family and in 1849 plants his own vineyard with son Sidney.

In 1852 The settlement of South Australia was drained of men seeking their fortunes in the goldfields of New South Wales and Victoria. Samuel was not one to be left behind, returning four months later with £300 of gold. With this he purchases 80 acres of land, two horses and a harness – thereby cementing Yalumba’s place in the world. A year later Yalumba’s first wine is released. By 1858 Samuel is dominating the local wine shows – a trend that hasn’t slowed in more than 166 years.

1908, and brothers Walter and Percy Smith stand where their father and grandfather planted the first vines by moonlight, 61 years before. Rising two stories above them is a remarkable 155-foot-long building crafted from Angaston marble – a testament to the Smith family traits of hard work, determination and a keen eye for beauty. The Yalumba Clocktower, as it became known, took two years to construct and Sidney Smith, who no doubt reflected how far his family had come since he left Dorset as a 10-year-old, passed away not long after its completion.

In 1929,Yalumba breaks new ground by serving its Four Crown “Port” at the most remote Christmas party in the world: in Antarctica. The members of Sir Douglas Mawson’s Antarctic Research Expedition enjoy the warming port alongside Emperor Penguin with a piquant sauce, and English ham. In later years Yalumba would be among one of the first corporate sponsors of the Australian thoroughbred racing, as well as showcasing its fine wines at other sporting and cultural events.

The year is 1966 and the wine that comes to epitomise Yalumba, a Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz blend simply called The Signature, is released. Honouring someone who personifies the very heart of Yalumba, The Signature over the years recognises family members, story tellers, sales people, winemakers and unequivocally loyal supporters. With four years of bottle age, the inaugural 1962 vintage of The Signature aptly honours the pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit of Samuel Smith.

In 1998, after nearly two decades of experimentation with Viognier, Yalumba had gained sufficient confidence by 1998 to release its first vintage of its pre-eminent white wine The Virgilius Viognier. The wine was crafted by a promising young winemaker by the name Louisa Rose, who at that time had been with Yalumba for five years after graduating her winemaking university degree as dux in 1992. Louisa is arguably now the most influential maker of Viognier around the world.

Today Yalumba are producing wines which are enjoyed worldwide. All this started with with a grapevine being planted on a moonlit night...

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