THE STORY SO FAR
Celebrating 85 years of continuous winemaking in 2013, the story of Burge Family Winemakers begins in 1855 with the arrival of John Burge from Wiltshire (U.K.), who took up farming and grapegrowing in Lyndoch near his winemaking cousins, the Springbetts, of ‘Hillside’ vineyard.
It was his grandson Percival Norman Burge who commenced winemaking in 1928 and set the foundations for the family wine firm that has operated continuously ever since. Times were tough, with low grape prices and an impending economic depression, but he quickly established an enviable reputation for the rich, mellow fortified wines, produced under the ‘P. N. BURGE & Sons’ label.
In 1950, Percival’s elder son Noel assumed the winemaking role, having graduated with Honours from the very first intake of Oenology students at Roseworthy College in 1938. The reputation of the dessert wines produced continued to grow and in 1965 the family wine business incorporated and became ‘WILSFORD WINES’ P.L., being named after the village of their forebears in Wiltshire.
In 1986 Noel’s son Rick, returning from a winemaking stint in Victoria, purchased the shareholding held by cousin Grant’s family, and immediately set about restructuring the family business to better reflect the quality potential of the table wines from the family’s vineyard. The jewels in the winemaking crown however were a lovely collection of very old fortifieds, which Noel and Rick carefully maintained in the traditional solera method of blending. Rick was very careful to honour his fathers fortified winemaking legacy, while at the same time forging a reputation for stylish, fine-grained and flavoursome table wines from his ‘Draycott’ and ‘Olive Hill’ vineyard blocks, now being released under the ‘BURGE FAMILY WINEMAKERS’ label.
It was most fitting to win a Gold Medal at the 2010 Rutherglen Wine Show (one of the toughest in the land) for the ‘WILSFORD’ V.O. Tawny, a little over a year after Noel’s passing.
A visit to the Lyndoch cellar door will reveal a special range of genuinely, hand-crafted wines from estate-grown fruit – produced under organic conditions. The ‘Draycott’ Shiraz, in particular, is a ‘must taste!’
Visitors welcome – Monday, Friday and Saturday (and Sunday of Holiday weekends) 10am-5pm.