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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 handpicked late in the season as the vine’s leaves are turning their autumn colours.
Due to their age, the vines are very low yielding resulting in the intense rich flavours tasted in the berries.
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. Old Quarry Tawny is made from the traditional Barossa tawny port varieties – Grenache and Shiraz, harvested late in the season to achieve maximum ripeness and complexity. After fortification with premium quality brandy spirit it is aged in old oak casks for an average of ten years.
A limited quantity of 10 year old Tawny is drawn from the solera for bottling each year and the barrels are topped with a younger vintage wine. The Old Quarry Tawny is blended from a range of vintages to make a consistent Barossa style which has concentration as well as freshness and balance.
The bouquet displays intense raisin and nutty rancio characters which carry on to the mellow, dried fruit palate. The lingering finish is rich and full of flavour, with pleasant, well integrated tannins and brandy spirit.
Perfect with cheese or chocolate desserts.
Will continue to improve with careful cellaring for up to 10 plus years.