• Di von Essen | intouch magazine

Celebrating 160 Years in Business


Established in 1858, Tyrrell’s is one of Australia’s pre-eminent and oldest family-owned wineries with vineyards extending from their historic home in the Hunter Valley to Heathcote and headed up by fourth generation family member Bruce Tyrrell, and fifth generation Chris Tyrrell.

This year Tyrrell’s celebrate 160 years in the making.

”160 years of family business is an amazing thing,” laughs Chris.

“We are lucky enough to make wine from vines planted by our great-great grandfather in a time when they had no electricity or any of the luxuries we have today. It is an honour to work with these wonderful assets.”

There have been numerous monumental moments which have seen the Tyrrells put the Hunter Valley on the world wine map. From the 1963 release of their iconic Vat 1 Hunter Semillon, now one of Australia’s most awarded white wines, to being the first Australian winery (in 1973), to mature Chardonnay in French oak and enter it into a wine show. This was hugely controversial at the time!

“The Tyrrells have been through many phases of change over the last 160 years, adapting to changes in the industry, the economy and the family members of the time,” says 4th generation Tyrrell and Managing Director, Bruce Tyrrell.

Above: Bruce (L) and Chris Tyrrell (R). Photo by Hannah Rose Robinson

Top: Tyrrell's Cellar Door

“The consistent factor throughout time has been our love of the Hunter Valley and the wines that it makes. It runs through the veins of the family. We have been amongst the very few people lucky enough

to work with something that is truly unique in the world of wine: Hunter Semillon and have become close to the perfection of its style. In another 160 years, my wish is that the family is still here on our original land making wines that are of great quality and distinctive to the Hunter Valley.”

With fifth-generation Tyrrells Jane, John and Chris all involved in the business, Tyrrell’s will continue to drive family as being the pinnacle to the ethos of the company, with the simple philosophy of producing a high-quality wine that people love to drink.

“The closeness of our operation and the family nature of it means we can consistently make wines that are relevant to the drinking public,” says Jane.

“I look forward to continuing to push the barriers of quality in viticulture and winemaking, while never forgetting the deeds of the people that got us here,” adds Chris.

The 160th anniversary just so happens to coincide with the 47th vintage of Vat 47 Hunter Chardonnay and the 150th vintage of the Old Patch vineyard, home to the oldest producing vines in NSW.

To mark the 160th anniversary and to demonstrate how the best of the Hunter Valley has the ability to ‘age gracefully’, Tyrrell’s have released two commemorative museum wines: 2005 Vat 1 Hunter Semillon, the most awarded wine in Tyrrell’s history, and 2007 Vat 9 Hunter Shiraz. These were launched at a special event attended by over 250 members at the winery in May, and a parcel of these wines have also been allocated to trade customers. Why not drop into the Cellar Door to help the generations celebrate this winter – you’ll find them at 1838 Broke Rd, Pokolbin.

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