My Days of Wine
Robert Graham Williams was known to his family and friends as Graham, or Orgie.

Robert Graham Williams
I was born Robert Graham Williams at Port Pirie the 11th. October, 1933. My father worked for the N.A.B. and was transferred often. During this time I lived in Port Pirie, Kadina, Angaston and Berri. While living in Berri I attended Glossop High School, where my sporting abilities soon became evident.
My career started as a lab. assistant at the Berri Winery. During this time I played for the Berri Football Club during which time North Adelaide F.C. tried to recruit me for their team. I decided instead to enrol in Roseworthy Agricultural College, where I achieved a Diploma in Oenology in 1955.


From 1955-1959 I was employed as a winemaker at the Loxton Winery.

Robert Graham Williams
From 1959-1973 I was employed as an assistant winemaker at the Berri Winery, where I worked under the guidance of well known winemaker Brian Barry. We became life long friends. Brian can be seen on the far left in this photo of us together.


From 1973 - 1977 I was the Company Oenologist for Mauri Brothers & Thompson in Sydney, during which time I helped establish the Lindemans Winery in Karadoc, at the time the largest Winery in the Southern Hemisphere!

I resigned from BCWD and started with Mauri Bros as Company Oenologist in July 1973. Prior to that I had asked Cec. Lever on a number of occasions to provide me with an assistant. I asked again and no result. During the preceding 18 months Val Solly, Manager of Pinnacle Engineering Co. had asked me if I would consider joining their firm. It was one of those difficult decisions that you make and I decided to accept the offer.

6 Marshall Street, Berri

From 1955-1959 I was employed as a winemaker at the Loxton Winery.

The immediate need was to find a place to live and we purchased a property at 6 Marshall Street in the Berri township.

After settling in at Marshall Street, I then went to Sydney to be introduced to the staff and the system.


On the final day in the process of moving out the last of the furniture etc my then mother-in-law, Gladys Crocker, was crossing a road to attend the local weight-watchers meeting and she was hit by a vehicle and subsequently died that evening. With the ensuing events I missed my farewell at Berri and never said thank you to all of my workmates. I can still remember Cec Lever asking me would I stay if he gave me an assistant and I could only refuse because I had accepted Mauri's offer, purchased a house, etc.

From 1977-1986 I was the manager of Lindemans Winery at Karadoc near Mildura.

In 1986, I retired from the wine industry and married my wife Ricky in November of that year.


Separate Tables Restaurant, Goodwood 2 1/2 years

Ricky and I owned and ran a wonderful restaurant called Separate Tables with a delicious selection of meals and fine wine for several years.


Real Estate 1989-95

I worked as a Real Estate Agent, finding the hours a little less demanding than the restaurant.


Graham and Ricky had a strong and happy marriage, which lasted until his death on the 10th. June, 2011.


Some of his other achievements are as follows:

Glossop H.S. - Head Prefect 1950 ( an honour incorrectly attributed to R.Cook in the Golden Jubilee book 1941-1991)

Berri F.C. - Best and Fairest in Colts, 1949.

Best and Fairest 1962, 1963.

Captain and Coach 1962.

Graham still holds the record for the longest drive at the Berri Golf Club, a staggering 425 Yards!

In 2009, at the 100 Year Celebrations of the Riverland Football League he was selected as one of the one hundred Best Players in one hundred years. His love for the the River Murray and his concern for its health was known to all and in 1998 he undertook a trip on the River Murray from Yarrawonga to Goolwa in a 15 foot Stacer, called the Jean Ethel, after Graham's mother.. The Murray was very low at the time and Ricky and son Peter had to "rescue" Graham at Barham and take him and his boat to Mildura, where he re-entered the Murray and continued on his way to Goolwa. Graham always intended to re-attempt this stretch of the Murray, circa 600 Km., but the drought prevented him from doing that. Ricky always promised, if he could not complete this part of the river, to send his ashes from Barham down to the mouth of the Murray and on to the sea. Plans are in place for Ricky to make good this promise and for it to be done later in 2011.

He enjoyed the company of good friends and family, a good wine, a nice meal and a Dutch cigar.

He died in June of 2011 after a nine month struggle with cancer of the oesophagus.

He will be sorely missed by all who knew him, especially his wife Ricky and her extended family.

On 11 October 2011, which would have been Graham's 78th. birthday, his wife Ricky and his sister Margaret committed Graham's ashes to the river Murray at Barham/Koondrook at 9 A.M. The river was flowing strongly and the wind was blowing in the right direction. He is finishing his river trip at last. He started it in 1998, but was forced to interrupt it at Barham due to low water. The Murray never recovered until this year, due to the drought By then it was too late for Graham, due to his ill health.


If you have any historic photos or information you feel would add to Grahams site, please email me HERE with details.
Thank you.