My Days of Wine

1938 Vintage Crush 11,871 tons

Noel Burge joined the company. Noel commenced on the 6th April 1938

Alec Kelly joined the company.

This year, from a trading point of view, has proved one of the most difficult experienced for many years past. Export turnover has been satisfactorily maintained. Australian Sales, however, due to Australia's enormous accumulated surplus stocks and consequent selling on the part of many of our competitors at un-remunerative prices, have been somewhat disappointing, we in cases having had to refuse business rather than trade at a loss. However, a policy has been formulated that affords definite indications of successfully combating the difficulties both at home and abroad.

During the year your Chairman, in accordance with this new policy, visited Great Britain and it is anticipated much good will result there from. From the manufacturing point of view, the 1938 vintage, the largest handled since 1933, proved of excellent quality and the recent mechanisation of much of the manufacturing plant has proved amply justified, resulting in more expeditious handling at considerably reduced costs.

As forecast in our report of 1937, our working agreement with the Tarac Company commenced for vintage 1938 and went smoothly and to a considerable advantage to the Company from both a monetary and economical point of view. Further extensions are being made by the Tarac Company which will enable them in the future to handle our stems and dried berries. Then it can be said that all avenues of waste have been eliminated, every possible recovery from waste material having been effected.

Jar of Wine was introduced June 23rd 1938


August 11th, 1938

£72,000 paid to shareholders on 11,871 tons and possibly another £2 per ton when vintage finalised.

On August 11th 1938 the Trunk line connection from Berri to Adelaide which will use Alternating current rather the batteries. The connection was made at the Berri Post Office.


September 17th, 1938

Double premiership to Berri, A & B Grade teams. Bill Westley, Berri A Grade Captain led his team well with an accomplished inn the centre position.


October 27th, 1938

The Berri Council and Winery are in dispute with unapproved electrical extensions. Carried out in 1931. The manager's house was located on the winery property and extensions deemed that it should be removed from the area between the two blocks of tanks known as Block 4. My understanding is that the residence was dismantled brick by brick and rebuilt on Block 253 adjacent to Battams road. A new manager's residence was built on the sand ridge for the manager Warrington Garnett. From the article in the pioneer it appeared Mr. Phil Knappstein was the occupant of the Battams road house. There were no further reports in the Pioneer and I assume the matter was resolved. - need to check dates and who lived at the Battams road residence!

Puddletown drainage system installed.


November 3rd, 1938.

By now some 4,000 acres of irrigated properties in the Berri District had drains installed at a cost of £34,546 which was directed to the Puddletown "Lake".

November 24th, 1938

Leo Buring had addressed the Sydney Viticultural Congress in October and stressed that the Australian Wine Industry needed a proper marketing strategy to educate the Australian Public to the healthy use of wine and a collective and cumulative effort was needed to maintain the industry.

Wednesday 23rd, November

Meeting at the Glossop Hall regards plans for the 1939 Intake.

The Committee addressed the shareholders and said they were willing to accept the equivalent tonnage to 1938 with the condition that the Doradillo intake would be two thirds of the 1938 tonnage and Malaga grapes were to be excluded. The shareholders were also advised not to plant further grape varieties. The Governments scheme to assist growers with removing Doradillo's had been of assistance supporting the growers with a replanting program. The Board made it clear that the present supply was more than sufficient to cater for the available markets for wine, brandy and spirit.

Decrmber 15th, 1938

The Unit of 43rd Battalion to be formed with recruiting Offices at Renmark and Berri. To be known as C Company 43/48 Battalion.

December 29th, 1938

Barmera Town Hall and Theatre opened. R. L. Gambling was the contractor.


1939 Vintage Crush 8,519 tons


Jan 19th 1939

Ten consecutive centuries in January reduced the grape crop by an estimated 5%

The Chairman Mr. A. H. Kelly went to England to establish the BCWD as a trading company and offices have been opened and a vigorous selling campaign commenced.

February rains in the upper reaches of the Murray River will provide ample water for the next irrigation season.

From the Annual General Meeting on Monday 19th February 1940

It will be remembered that we reported at the last Annual General meeting that a policy was being formulated to successfully combat the very difficult conditions then existing, both at home and abroad. Such conditions have since been considerably aggravated .

Despite these facts, the year from a trading view has shown a very satisfactory development in so far as Australian sales are concerned, and overseas trade has been more than maintained despite the disturbed conditions that have prevailed throughout the period under review in Europe. The establishment of our Liverpool branch helped considerably in this respect.

From the manufacturer's point of view, the 1939 Vintage, one third less in tonnage than 1938, proved a satisfactory one. You will remember that the year under discussion commenced shortly after the "Munich" incident and subsequent events have amply justified the action of your Directors in having restricted the tonnage taken at Vintage 1939.

Had this restriction not been imposed, the 1940 Vintage would have had to be restricted to half that of 1938, due to the shortage of space and finance, whereas it is now intended to take at Vintage 1940, a similar tonnage to that taken in Vintage 1939.

In so far as the future is concerned we believe it to be an utter impossibility for any human to even hazard an opinion. There is, however, one outstanding feature of the position, and that is, due to wine being low on the shipping priority list, the greatest difficulty will be experienced during the coming year in effecting shipments to Britain.


Distillery Football Team July 1939

J. Martin? Warren, B. Wuttke, G. Commane, R. Smith, R. Matulick, C. Coombs, G. Cowan, H. Lock, A. Pitt, C. Fielding, B. Arrowsmith, A. Pannach, J. Foreman, D. Alsat, M. Hackett, G. Young, Reserves, L. Heinecke an L. Lock. Umpire Mr. G. Barbary


July 28th, 1939

July saw a payment of £ 33,500 to shareholders as per the Government's fixed price scheme. An invitation to shareholders to inspect the winery and enjoy refreshments was made this day and it was reported that some thirty new 1,000 gallon casks had been installed on the main cellar floor. I believe these were cylindrical vats rather than casks.


September 21st 1939

September saw frosts damage vineyards in the Monash and Lone Gum areas with a recording of 24.5° F. Then again on October 9th wiped out the dormant buds missed last month.

Also in September the establishing of the Loveday Internment Camp was in progress. The Berri District Council was to supply the power to the site.


October 1939

This month saw a flood that did not rival 1931 but stopped the operation of a number of the ferries. Also another frost-photo!

Ron L. gambling given the contract to build the Glossop High School .


November 3rd, 1939

This month saw the Riverland hit by rain and hailstorms, and the worst area hit by hail was Barmera district

Armed Forces intakes were being organiised throughout the Riverland and I noted that Noel Burge was restricted and remained in his position at the winery.

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