by Fred McMillin
for September 3, 1999


Winery of the Week

A Chic Creek


Travels with Gramp

In 1837, 18-year-old Johann Gramp left his Bavarian home, boarded the bargue SOLVAY, and ultimately disembarked on Kangaroo Island, off the South Australian coast.

On the mainland, he built a house of red-gum logs, worked as a baker, and then moved to Jacob's Creek, a mile from the site of where the Orlando Winery now stands. (Orlando became the second largest winery in Australia.)

In 1847 Johann planted the first vineyard in the Barossa Valley, southern Australia. (Today, the Barossa is Australia's most important wine region.)

Jacob's Creek

1996 Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz Aussie expert James Halliday: "Orlando, one of the giants of the Australian wine industry, is a brand-builder extraordinaire, [such as their] Jacob's Creek...producing wines of the utmost reliability and consistency."

Have they ever built Jacob's Creek! It is the largest selling brand in Australia. It is the largest selling Autralian wine in the U.K., Japan, Scandinavia, etc. etc. It's already the best-selling Aussie wine in the U.S.A., and here's why they expect it to climb higher.

Two New Creek Reserves Arrive In U.S.

1996 Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz (Syrah) from the Barossa Valley, naturally. Australia's best varietal from their most important wine district by the number one selling brand in the country. Only $15. What more can I say!

1997 Jacob's Creek Reserve Chardonnay, from ?? Johann Gramp's first vintage (1850) was white. But Barossa whites haven't yet matched those of a coastal district to the south. It is cool Chardonnay country...Padthaway. Padthaway Chards dazzled my panel at least seven years ago. While Jacob's Creek used American oak on the Shiraz, they went for the spicier French oak with the Chardonnay, which has more citrus than melon...with flavors that continue to resonate after you swallow. Very competitive at $13.99.


The venerable Austin, Nichols firm imports the Creek. For outlets, Vickie Bello or Marc Gerrone can help you at (973) 233-0900, FAX (973) 233-0901 in New Jersey.

Postscript For The Technically Inclined

Orlando has done more than develop brands like Jacob's Creek. They also pioneered a technique to slow fermentation rates in order to improve the aroma and flavor of white wines. Rather than cool the fermenting wine to extend fermentation time, they put the juice in sealed stainless steel tanks. Fermentation produces carbon dioxide gas. If the tank is sealed, the gas pressure rises and fermentation slows. At about 120 p.s.i. gage pressure, it stops!

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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