The History of Australian Wine: Stories from the Vineyard to the Cellar Door

Max Allen

The History of Australian Wine: Stories from the Vineyard to the Cellar Door
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The History of Australian Wine: Stories from the Vineyard to the Cellar Door

Max Allen

Cellar Voices tells the story of Australian wine during the entire twentieth century. Based on a series of interviews conducted across a broad range of industry figures–from winemakers to cellar hands, from business leaders to grape growers–award-winning wine writer Max Allen weaves together an oral history full of first-hand accounts and personal recollections on how Australian wine got to where it is today. As Cellar Voices quickly discovers, the Australian wine industry has come full circle in many ways. In the early twentieth century, Australia was a major exporter of wine; by the end of the century, after decades of hiatus, it was once again. Likewise, for the first half of the century family companies dominated the industry–and now, as large corporations fracture and fragment, family-owned companies have returned to the fore. There are also many tales about the irreversible changes that have occurred over those 100 years, such as our evolution from a nation of sweet sherry drinkers to a nation infatuated with crisp sauvignon blanc. No matter where you land throughout the century, there is tension threading through everyday conversation. But there are also plenty of larrikins, pioneers and great storytellers, from charismatic leaders who have mentored the next generation and imbued the Australian wine community with a strong sense of collaboration and mateship, to bloody-minded individuals who fiercely steered their own course and yet, ironically, inspired many. At the heart of it all, though, running like a constant soundtrack to the century, beats a powerful sense of resilience. Australian vignerons have always faced challenges, but it has been in times of extreme adversity, during environmental, financial or global crisis, that the industry has taken its biggest leaps forward. Beautifully illustrated, Cellar Voices collects these fascinating stories together, and allows us to reflect on this ever-evolving and complex industry.

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