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Johann Gottlob Schrapel and his family arrived from Silesia on the George Washington in 1844. This was just eight years after South Australia was settled. Like many Silesian migrants, they travelled by ox cart to Bethany (Bethanien) and established the Barossa’s first settlement.
Johann planted the first vineyard in 1852 from cuttings carried from Europe. He built a wine cellar and had reputation as a winemaker. Despite this our family were grape growers for the next four generations.
In 1981, fifth generation brothers Robert and Geoff established Bethany Wines. They built a winery in the quarry where the early pioneers had hewn stone for their homes. They crushed 2 tonnes of Shiraz and Riesling, launching the next chapter of the Schrapel wine story.
The early 1980s were tough for Barossa grape growers. A glut followed a red wine boom and grape prices fell below production cost. The State Government wanted growers to pull out old Shiraz and Grenache vines. They encouraged growers to plant new varieties or leave the industry. Fortunately, the brothers chose to establish a tradition of winemaking from this undervalued yet irreplaceable resource of old vineyards.
The fruit for the Cabernet and Merlot is sourced from the Estate’s vineyards in Bethany and neighbouring vineyards along the Barossa foothills. The fruit picked from the Bethany Vineyards is from old vines of up to 40 years old which are very low yielding and produce fruit of great intensity and flavour. Traditional viticulture practices are applied in these vineyards with vines hand pruned and often hand picked. The grapes from each individual vineyard are kept separate throughout the wine making process until the final blending. The characteristics of the selected parcels of wine for the Cabernet Merlot blend display soft fine tannins and fresh red berry characters.
Each parcel was individually fermented with a high percentage of whole berry inclusion to maximise fruit expression. Fermentation lasted 7-10 days depending on the parcel and twice daily hand pumpovers or irrigations enured a gentle extraction of tannin, flavour and colour. At the end of maceration the wine was pressed to a combination of seasoned and new (10%) French oak to mature for 16 months.
A vibrant expression of dark red berries and black plums with perfumed spice and a hint of earthy pencil character adding depth and complexity. The palate is bright, medium bodied and fluid, a real intensity and drive to the structure with very fine-grained velvety tannins carrying fresh dark mulberries and blackberries through a spicy, slight vanillin palate. The finish is seamless and long, providing an elegant close to the wine.
Roasted meats as well as more robust vegetable dishes such as ratatouille. Perfect with hard cheeses.
Will continue to improve with careful cellaring for up to 5 years.