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Post-War Reconstruction - 1940 – Barossa

Post-War Reconstruction - 1940

World War II has devastated the globe, with more than 60 million lives lost. In the Barossa there is suspicion and distrust between fourth generation English descendants and their fellow Barossans of German heritage. While the region’s first Vintage Festival heals these wounds and a new co-operative movement take over retail outlets and hotels, there is also a move to modernise the local wine industry. Colin Gramp, a descendant of Johann Gramp, returns from World War II via the Napa Valley in the USA where he has observed modern winemaking practices and in 1947 makes the Barossa’s first dry red table wines since the 1860s – a Special Reserve Claret, predominantly made of Shiraz with the addition of some Cabernet Sauvignon. Colin becomes the father of the new Barossa and one of its most prominent innovators.


Vintage 1947 - Summary

Well above average growing season rainfall but with a dry January. A very wet March provided challenging vintage conditions.

Highlights

  • This was an all time record production year for SA with 2.75 million gallons produced, which surpassed the previous record in 1946 and followed the drought year of 1945 - the lightest vintage since 1923. 
  • The first Barossa Valley Vintage Festival was held to mark the end of vintage - and the end of World War II. Bill Seppelt, who had witnessed similar thanksgiving celebrations in Europe, initiated the idea.
  • Fortified wines - ports, sherries and brandies - were the main wine style produced in the Barossa. However, Colin Gramp broke with tradition on his return from World War II and produced a Barossa Cabernet-Shiraz table wine.
  • War restrictions on imported wines were gradually being lifted but import licences on equipment and machinery were still difficult to obtain, slowing the wine industry's development.
  • Post-war wine exports to the UK were down.

Vintage 1948 - Summary

Below average growing season rainfall and a very dry vintage was followed by a wet April and May.

Highlights
  •  The Barossa’s first stainless steel grape receival facility was introduced at Orlando in the bid for increased hygiene in grape processing. 
  • A year of high malic acid levels, which led winemakers to first recognise pH and TA changes relating to malolactic fermentation (MLF).

Vintage 1949 - Summary

Good rains during the growing season and cold weather at fruit set were followed by a wet February, but rains eased in March and April in time for vintage. 
Highlights
  •  Local prices increased per gallon for clarets, sherries, muscats and tokay.