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by Fred McMillin
for March 6, 1998
Winery of the Week
Red Hot Rosemount
1864—Karl Brecht plants vines in the Upper Hunter Valley, north of Sydney in Australia. His winery was named Rosemount, and his wines won awards in Bordeaux competition. After his death, the land reverted to cattle pastures.
1969—Papua New Guinea coffee trading provided Sydney-born Bob Oatley with some extra change to invest in pasture land...in the Upper Hunter Valley, where he discovered the ruins of the original Rosemount winery.
1975—A small, new winery and vineyard are added to the estate. The operation is so small that Bob and his friends are able to harvest the entire first vintage of his new Rosemount Winery.
1990—By now the family and friends had to get a little help with the harvest; production was over 400,000 cases a year!
1996—Rosemount sales in the U.S.A. alone exceed 400,000 cases.
Rosemount wines are an obvious success. Who makes 'em? His name is Phillip Shaw. He trained north of Adelaide at Roseworthy Agricultural College; the press calls its winegrowing courses, founded in 1936, the best in the country. Critic Thomas Hardy says Shaw "is one of the three or four most gifted winemakers in the country." What does he make that you can purchase in America?
Here's a sampling of comments by seasoned American
and Aussie writers.
Your U.S.A. Contact
For help in selecting the right wine for you, phone his Sonoma office at (707) 996-4505 and ask for John Gay. Brecht, Oatley, Shaw, Gay...a few good men behind many good wines.
A few decades before Karl Brecht planted those first Rosemount vines, nearby New Zealand had a passenger on a visiting ship note that the wine vines were doing well. The year - 1835, the ship—the H.M.S. Beagle, and the notetaker—Charles Darwin!
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