My wife Ricky has been encouraging me to write my memories of the many happy years I spent enjoying working and meeting with the people involved in the Wine Industry and doing my utmost to improve the quality and acceptance of our Australian Wines and Spirits.
This story begins with my introduction to the industry which was prompted by my Uncle Jock Williams, encouraging my father to suggest to me that I should apply for an advertised position at the Berri Cooperative Winery and Distillery Ltd at Glossop, SA. Dad had seen the article placed in the 1951 January edition of the Murray Pioneer and rang my Uncle. I did apply, was successful and started as a Laboratory Assistant in February for the 1951 vintage. At this time the Wine Industry was classed as a luxury one, but Uncle Jock believed it would expand in the future and provide a good career. How right he was!
To place things into historical order, I felt it important to provide some background of the establishment which is now a part of the BRLHardy Conglomerate. I have used extracts taken from the 50 year story written by J. H. "Joe" Brown, Chairman of the Board 1956-1967, who wrote some observations of the period 1922-1972. The task is to try and fill in those years with developments, events, and the people that worked at the winery in various capacities. I have also referred to Doug Collett's memoirs and filled in some of the gaps of his time at Berri. To be in the time frame, I have researched the Murray Pioneer records spanning back to 1918.
I have researched back to the 1915 survey of the winery site to try and follow the events.
Looking east up Wallis terrace with
the River Murray on the right. The 1918 vintage was processed
at the east end of the Chaff House. The Vaughan terrace pumping
station boiler stack was still standing
The 1918 vintage at the eastern end
of the "Chaff House" with the
terrace Pumping Station to
the rear of the photographer. View is West-South-West downstream.
The photo depicts the building, grape crushing equipment,
galvanised tank and hogsheads.
assume this was late in the 1918 vintage showing the
easterly end of the "Chaff House" and the south
west bend of the river towards Bookpurnong. I
believe the galvanised tanks contained fortifying spirit
and fortification is in progress on the left of the picture.
I believe it was Leslie Penfold-Hyland that coordinated
the 1918 vintage on the Berri riverbank. "Herb"
Knight recalls a Mr. Penfold-Hyland was involved. See photo
in previous file.
increased tonnages of grapes coming into bearing it was
obvious that a distillery was required which would save
the Berri growers the expense of carting to Renmark Growers'
Distillery. To this end the South Australian Government
offered a loan to the Shareholders of the Berri Cooperative
Packing Union Ltd which was accepted at a meeting on the
27th October 1917.