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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 Barossa had a very dry winter and spring in 2018 and only had limited and small rainfall events during the summer to freshen up the vines. Frost events and hail events in the Spring disrupted bud burst and flowering in some vineyards. These challenging conditions lead to one of the shortest and smallest harvests in recent history but the quality of the fruit that was harvested was universally high even across the white varieties.
The Shiraz was sourced from the Schrapel family vineyards grown along the eastern ridge of the Barossa Ranges. Established 80 – 100 years ago by Lawrence Schrapel; the vineyard follows the contours of the hillface and is planted in fertile red brown loam topsoil with a deeper red clay calcareous base.
The higher elevation of the vineyard and east west aspect is ideal for cool even ripening and sunlight exposure, naturally intensifying the aromatics and flavour profile of the fruit. Traditional viticulture practices of hand pruning to 70 buds per vine limit the yield from these old vines to 6.25t/Ha, concentrating the flavours into fewer berries.
Parcels of fruit were harvested and fermented separately prior to being put to oak hogsheads for 6-18 months maturation with the balance of time in stainless steel to retain freshness. The final blend was composed a month prior to bottling to give all the composite parts time to come together.
Dark purple with crimson highlights. A strong, forceful nose of compressed dark berries, lifted floral notes and hints of spiced oak. Powerful dark red and black fruits come to the fore with a lift of sweet aromatics curling through the palate. A hint of spice and savoury mineral character adds to the complexity and intensity. Dense and chewy tannins give a grip and texture that envelops the fruit and delivers a long and lingering 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 5-8 years.
Don’t just take our word for it…
“Sourced mostly from vineyards within a 1km radius of the Bethany village and winery, with a tiny 5% from Eden Valley in the mix. Rich and powerful Barossa shiraz, fairly extracted though not without regional charm.”
– Tony Love – James Halliday Wine Companion