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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 Grenache fruit is sourced from low yielding old bush vines which are hand pruned to 50-60 buds per vine. These old vines are grown on their own roots rather than grafted rootstock, naturally limiting the canopy growth and allowing for better fruit exposure to sunlight. This exposure ensures even ripening of the grapes with enhanced fruit flavour esters and colour ripeness. The fruit is hand-picked very late in the season at optimal ripeness.
Sourced from two estate old vine Grenache plantings in the village of Bethany and a single vineyard in Light Pass, the fruit for this wine was carefully hand harvested and then fermented in separate parcels to ensure clarity of vision throughout the fermentation and maturation.
Time on skins ranged from 7-10 days with whole berry ferments and the inclusion of whole bunches from 0-20% depending on the parcel resulting in 8% whole bunch in the final blend. Maturation on fine lees in a combination of 26% inert vessel, 11% new French oak and the balance in seasoned hogsheads.
The love affair for Grenache at Bethany continues with this powerful, layered and utterly drinkable wine. A bright nose of red fruits and earthy notes leads you to a palate of dense, chewy fruit and fresh, fine-grained tannins that lead to a long and complex finish.
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.