Seppelt celebrating 170 years

Image: Seppelt senior winemaker Clare Dry.
By Samuel Squire

This year, Seppelt marks its 170th anniversary of wine production, and is launching its 2021 Luxury Collection to celebrate.

The Collection is a result of 170 years of fine winemaking “passed down through generations”, according to Seppelt’s senior winemaker Clare Dry.

“Seppelt has evolved in so many ways since it was established in 1851,” she said, “so this year we are celebrating 170 years of winemaking heritage!”

“Our wines today are a culmination of expertise passed down through generations of winemakers who have helped shape the Australian wine industry – names including Benno and Karl Seppelt, Charles Pierlot, Ian McKenzie and Colin Preece.

“Over the years, we’ve learnt so much about winemaking, our land, viticulture, and the people who drink our wines.”

Seppelt, in 1890, employed French winemaker Charles Pierlot from Champagne to make some of Australia’s first traditional method sparkling wines, including the uniquely-Australian sparkling Shiraz wine style.

In 1893, Seppelt released its first ever sparkling Shiraz, and has been renowned for the style ever since.

“We have been renowned for making the global benchmark expression of the style, which is today known as Seppelt Show Sparkling Shiraz,” Dry said, “The current vintage – the 2008 – was voted Tyson Stelzer’s 2020 Sparkling Red of the Year, and it also won both Best Australian Sparkling wine and Most Voted Sparkling Wine in the 2021 Best Wine of the World Competition”.

In 1964, Seppelt began to pave the way for cool climate wines in Australia with the planting of its Drumborg Vineyard.

“Today our wines capture a diversity of Victorian terroirs across the Grampians, Henty and Heathcote regions,” Dry said.

“Over the past 10 years, we’ve focused on bringing out the best in our cool climate wines, expressing the personalities of each vineyard block and each vintage in every bottle.”

Continuing the Seppelt legacy is an exciting challenge for Dry, who wants to continue to nurture the brand and its story in Victoria.

“It’s exciting to work with our wonderful vineyards and make wine for a brand with such a long and renowned history in Australia,” she said.

“There is also some pressure, though, with making wines that live up to the prestige of 170 years of [winemaking] history; it is a little daunting, but challenge accepted!

“I’d like to focus on our history and build on the legacy that has already been laid down. Exploring the clonal selections that we have planted in our Great Western vineyard will be a major focus point for me and I’d love to weave this remarkable viticultural history further into our wines, especially St Peters Shiraz.”


The 2021 Luxury Collection includes:

Dry says the 2021 Collection offers three contrasting 2019 single vineyard expressions of Shiraz: one from Heathcote and two from Great Western in the Grampians.

Headlining this year’s Collection is a new Shiraz commemorating 170 years of Seppelt history: the 2019 Seppelt Arrawatta Hill Grampians Shiraz.

“The Arrawatta blocks of our Great Western vineyard produce some of our finest Shiraz, yet we have never crafted a single-block red from there until now,” she said.

“Also sourced from our Great Western Vineyard in 2019, but from select sections of the Bass and Arrawatta blocks, is our flagship St Peters Shiraz, featuring graphite tannins, bright fruit aromatics and great cellaring potential.

“Conversely, the more brooding 2019 Mount Ida Heathcote Shiraz displays dark blueberry fruits on the nose and classic Heathcote tannins.

“From our famed Drumborg Vineyard in south-west Victoria’s Henty region, we bring you the 2020 vintages of Drumborg Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The Pinot Noir has layers of cherry stone fruit, bramble and game; and in a first for Seppelt, is available in 375ml and 750ml bottles. Meanwhile the Drumborg Pinot Meunier is a more savoury wine with notes of roast meats, gun flint, cherry fruit and spice.

“The sole wine from vintage 2021, the Drumborg Vineyard Riesling, is my first Seppelt release. I experimented with different techniques including whole bunch pressing, hand pick with crush to press, and different levels of solids in the ferment.

“The resulting wine is classic Drumborg, with tight mineral acid and a seamless palate of florals and citrus fruit with a hint of exotic spice.

“Lastly, and also from Henty, is the 2015 Salinger Vintage Cuvée. This Pinot Noir, Chardonnay And Pinot Meunier blend spent five years on lees in tirage before disgorgement in the Méthode Traditionnelle. Fresh and flinty nose, its complex palate will unwind further with time.”

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