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Magazine pages bring history to life for Rutherglen grower

Magazine pages bring history to life for Rutherglen grower

This article continues our look at Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine's five decades of service to the grapegrowing and winemaking sector and its origins in the pages of The Australian Grapegrower.
MALCOLM CAMPBELL MUST have been impressed by The Australian Grapegrower magazine, which first appeared almost 50 years ago, in December 1963.
'I've got a lot of those old issues - and we still get the magazine,' he said.
'I think the magazine met the needs of the growers at the time - it addressed technical issues as well as general industry issues, much the same as it still does today.'
After looking at the November, 1968 edition, Campbell recalled growing wine grapes 45 years ago.
'The late '60s were pretty dry times - in '68 there was a stinking drought, '69 wasn't a lot better. In 1970 things started to pick up.
'Mechanical harvesting was only just being introduced at the time.
'I brought one here to Rutherglen on a demo and All Saints got the first one in this district. They bought a Mecca.
'We bought the first harvester in '81, from Patterson in Mildura - we've still got one.
'Yields in those days were around 1 ton to the acre - they were not big yields. Nowadays we look for about 3 1/2 tons to the acre or thereabouts.
'The quality of fruit in the 1960s was very good, there's no doubt about that,' he said. 'There were no major issues with pest and disease, we don't have all of those problems in this part of the world.
'In those days we sprayed with mainly copper and sulphur, not a lot different to today.'
Fortifieds were popular in the '60s but surprisingly, Campbells now make more fortifieds - and also make a lot more table wines.
'The balance is different now, but fortifieds are still a good seller.'
And are the fortifieds still the best in the world?
'We believe so.'
In the late '60s Campbells were planting vines, mainly Muscat and Shiraz. And vineyard practices have changed, too.
'We don't cultivate these days,' Campbell said.
'That's probably the biggest change and of course the vines are irrigated now and weren't then - they were the two biggest changes.
'Trellising has changed too, it was very simple with two wires, one was about 18 inches from the ground and the other about 3 feet.
'In the late 60s things were pretty exciting. The industry was growing at a nice steady rate and doing pretty well back in those days.
'The industry today is promising I'd say. The future for Rutherglen wines lies basically in the domestic market and a little bit into Asia and the United States and Europe - fairly traditional markets.
'We have about 25 employees today in the 60s we had about five.
'At that time we weren't bottling wine, we were selling in bulk, whereas now everything bottled and now we do all our own marketing and distribution.
'It's a different business now to what was in the 1960s.'
The current vintage has seen some very hot weather in the mid-40s and Campbell expects to kick off harvesting the whites in about the 2nd or 3rd week of February.
'Quality will be all right. We lost a little bit with heat damage and burnt fruit (in January). We don't usually have much bunch exposure - we try to keep a little bit of cover.'
Following are some of the articles from the November 1968 issue of The Australian Grapegrower.

Dual varieties for new winery
Sunraysia's new winery now being constructed for Hungerford Hill Vineyards Pty Ltd at Mourquong, about 2 1/2 miles from Buronga, will crush sultanas, gourds and currants during the 1969 vintage.
They will be used to make sweet white and distillation wines for sale in South Australia, according to the company's general manager, Mr Norman P. Hanckel.
Initial plans are for the winery to handle 5000 tons of grapes a year from Sunraysia growers.
Mr Hanckel said the winery was designed basically for table wine production and to this end contracts had been let locally for the establishment of 224 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz vineyards.
It was anticipated that contracts for a further 200 acres would be made next year.
In October 1967 the company purchased 854 acres of land at Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley, 200 acres of which has been planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Semillon.
The company intends to plan a further 300 acres of the Pokolbin area in 1969, and expects it will have a new winery established in the Hunter Valley in readiness for the 1971 vintage.
Mr Henkel said the general design of the new Sunraysia winery would be very modern and somewhat unique in Australia - it would probably have the appearance of an oil refinery rather than winery. All plant would be constructed of stainless steel and would not be roofed.

Improving red wine
A new method of improving Australian dry red table wines was producing promising results, the officer in charge of the Australian Wine Research Institute (Mr B.C. Rankine) said at the institute's Urrbrae laboratories recently.
It was hoped the process would improve flavour, quality and stability.
Results would be evaluated early next year. The work continued research begun by the institute's former director, Mr J.C.M. Fornachon, who died this year.

Seppelts to establish winery in MIA
B. Seppelt and Sons Pty. Ltd. Have purchased a property of 11 acres at Bilbul near Griffith in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and have announced that they will commence processing grapes there in 1969.
Seppelts have been winemaking since 1851 when the original winery was established at Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley. During the 117 years since that beginning, they have spread their activities to other areas. At the present time they operate five wineries, three in the Barossa Valley - Seppetsfield, Chateau Tanunda, Dorrien - and two in Victoria at Rutherglen and the famous champagne cellars at Great Western.
With vast connections and outlets in the eastern states, Seppelts have recognised the need to expand production activities in an area nearer to these markets. Realising the potential of the MIA, they have selected this location as the location for their sixth winery. Operations in 1969 will be on a limited scale, but there are plans being prepared for rapid expansion in the area.
Mr. Frank O'Callaghan will be Seppelts representative in the Griffith area and he will be making contact with grapegrowers. Mr. O'Callaghan is at present the vineyard manager at Seppelts Barossa Valley vineyards and prior to July this year he was manager of the company's vineyards at Barooga in New South Wales.

Many phases of colourful growth by Yalumba Wines
A special correspondent's report highlighted the ongoing expansion of the company's vineyard and winery interests, with a new shareholding bringing in Hungerford Hill vineyards in the Hunter Valley and a winery and distillery being built at Mildura.
Back in Yalumba's own vineyard at Oxford Landing, near Waikerie on the River Murray in South Australia, plantings total 400 acres in this now well-proven venture of faith in a breakaway from the Barossa Valley tradition. It is over 10 years since Yalumba, about the same time as several other companies, entered on what were then the pioneering days of private pumping plants and sprinkler irrigation downstream from Waikerie, to gain the benefits of bigger yields, especially in shy bearers like Cabernet Sauvignon - without loss of the grape's winemaking quality.
Associated with new supplies of white grapes, Yalumba have marketed Carramar Chablis and Koorianda White Burgundy.
The Pewsey Vale winery boasts new additional storage French oak - 85,000 gallons, all in 100 gallon casks, all for Galway Vintage Claret, Four Crown Claret and the Burgundies.
A new chilling plant and 30,000 gallons of stainless steel containers have been made to specification for dry wines and cold fermentation.
This progressive attitude stems from the top, from managing director Wyndham Hill Smith; sales director Mark Hill Smith, vineyards and grape production director John Hill Smith, secretary Alfred Wark, chief winemaker Rudy Kronberger, cellar manager Ray Ward, oenologist Peter Wall, and the men we met in the cellars - to name just a few, David Von Saldern, dry white foreman (once at Great Western and a missionary in New guinea for a time, Les Falkenberg, sweet wine foreman, Harold 'Potts' Obst, bulk filling foreman completing 45 year's service, and coming in from his outside domain, Stan Linke, local vineyard foreman.
You see vast excavations by the builders. You see new bond stores, immense square footages of floor space. But 'Wyndy' simply says - 'I still want to sell a nice claret at 85 cents'.

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