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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 grapes are sourced from the Homestead Vineyards in Bethany and are some of the oldest vines on the estate. The Barossa was well known in earlier years for its fortified wines and the older plantings reflect their popularity in that era. The vines are trained on a single wire, hand pruned in the winter and the grapes are harvested late in the season as the vine’s leaves are turning their autumn colours. Due to their age, the vines are very low yielding and this adds to the intensity of flavours.
The fruit is handpicked late in the season when fully ripened at 15 to 17 Baume. The juice colour of the late harvested grapes is a rich golden amber that is evident in the finished product. The grapes are crushed and left together with the skins for 3 or 4 days before pressing.
Fermentation is initiated until the right baume is reached and then the wine is fortified with brandy spirit and transferred in old oak barrels to mature for an average of six years before bottling.
Old Quarry Fronti is a blend of aged white wines picked from ancient bush vines grown on our Homestead and Quarry vineyards. Predominately Muscat Petit Grains, Muscadelle and Semillon, the grapes are harvested late in the season to achieve rich and intense flavours.
Fortified with brandy spirits, these individual wines are aged for an average of 6 years in oak casks. The finished wine is deep golden, amber colour and displays a rich, fragrant nose of orange marmalade, hints of honey and treacle. The full bodied and lingering velvety palate create this deliciously rich and smooth fortified wine.
Enjoy slightly chilled as an aperitif or at the end of a fine dinner with figs, hard cheeses, and membrillo (quince jelly).
Will continue to improve with careful cellaring for up to 10 plus years.