When Joseph Osborn bought his first 25 hectares of vineyards in the hills of McLaren Vale in 1912, little did he know he would spur on four generations of wine-making.
Under the watchful eye of his father d’Arry Osborn, the charismatic Chester Osborn has continued the family legacy as fourth generation chief wine-maker. More than 60 labels and 25 different grape varieties now sit under the name d’Arenberg Wines (also known as the ‘Red Stripe’ due to the distinctive label, inspired by the d’Arry’s crimson and white school tie).
Brand Manager Tash Stoodley says Chester has returned the family vineyards to more traditional, environmentally friendly viticulture practices.
“D’Arenberg vineyards have minimal or no irrigation, no soil cultivation, minimal spraying and most importantly, no fertilization,” she says.
“Chester walks the vineyard rows and personally tastes the grapes to determine the ideal picking time for each individual vineyard”.
D'Arenberg's winemaking techniques are instrumental in the quality of their wines. They are the only winery in Australia to use a basket press method for all white and red wines. Chester favors this age-old practice, which gently squashes the grapes and produces cleaner juice, as it is partially filtered through the mass of pulp it drains through in the basket. The batch is then transferred to a mixture of new and old French and old American oak barriques for primary and secondary fermentation. Reds are fermented in old school, wax-lined concrete fermenters and are still foot-trod to this day.
D’Arenberg is widely renowned for not only the award-winning The Dead Arm Shiraz, but also for its Grenache. Owning nearly one third of McLaren Vale’s old bush vine Grenache, Tash says d’Arenberg has earned the title of ‘Custodian’ of the variety.
“The Osborns have always been passionate about Grenache,” she says.
“During the vine pull scheme in the 1980s, Chester acquired a number of poorly maintained vineyards in various states of disrepair. Restoring these vineyards was a time consuming labour of love, but now they are back producing low yields of exceptional fruit.”
The bulging list of crazily, and sometimes controversially-titled wines – including the Laughing Magpie, the Footbolt, the Broken Fishplate and the Noble Botryotinia Fuckeliana - continues to grow by the day.
With over a century spent perfecting their wine, d’Arenberg has become a household name in creating wines of immense drinkability and approachability.
For further information or to purchase wines online, visit www.darenberg.com.au
Tash’s picks: Where to enjoy d’Arenberg flavours in Brisbane
Where: Longtime Restaurant and Bar – Fortitude Valley
Wine: d’Arenberg ‘The Money Spider’ Roussanne
Match: The signature Moreton Bay Bug curry alongside the little known grape variety Roussanne is a perfect combination!
Where: The Buffalo Bar – Brisbane CBD
Wine: d’Arenberg ‘The Dead Arm’ Shiraz
Match: d’Arenberg’s icon Shiraz alongside slow cooked beef – a sensational long lunch!
Where: Malt Restaurant – Brisbane CBD
Wine: 2009 d’Arenberg ‘Derelict Vineyard’ Grenache
Match: Byron Bay Veal Chop, Gremolata polenta, crushed sweet potato and beetroot chips.