The Winemaking Process at d’Arenberg Winery

Just outside of Adelaide City, the d’Arenberg Winery offers a distinct taste of Australia, with its diverse selection of local wines. Located in a beautifully restored 19th century homestead, the cellar overlooks the stunning scenery of McLaren Vale, the Willunga Hills, and the sprawling Gulf St Vincent. Visitors flock to the winery to taste the selection of wines and to learn more about the winemaking process from the knowledgeable onsite staff.

The History of d’Arenberg Winery

Known as one of the most pivotal wineries in McLaren Vale, d’Arenberg was founded back in 1912 after teetotaller Joseph Osborn purchased the property with the money he received from selling off his prize winning racehorses. In 1921, Joseph died and left the winery to his son, Frank, who built the business up. Before the winery was actually established, Frank sold the grapes grown to other wineries in the region.

It wasn’t until Francis (also known as d’Arry) was born, that the winemaking process began to take place on site. To begin with, d’Arenberg specialised in creating fortified wines to send to England, but after World War II, the demand for such luxuries declined, so d’Arry set to making other varieties. The winery got its name from d’Arry’s mother, Helena d’Arenberg, who died shortly after giving birth to him. Today, the winery is led by d’Arry’s son, Chester, who continues to use the traditional methods of his forefathers to create distinctive, much-loved wines.

The Winemaking Process at d’Arenberg

Firstly, the grapes are classified with the ideal picking time for each vineyard before small batches are crushed and placed in fermenters.

The red wines are trodden on by foot about two thirds of the way through the fermentation process before being basket pressed, while the white wines go straight into the basket press. D’Arenberg is actually the only winery in the whole of Australia to utilise basket pressing on both grape colours. It makes the process slightly longer, but brings out the flavour in ways no other method can.

After pressing, the wines are placed into barrels, where the fermented components are aged on lees to slow down the process and ensure the wine stays fresh for longer. When it is ready, an extensive tasting process takes place to make sure the final blend is of the highest quality. The wines are then bottled straight away – there is no fining or filtration process that takes place at d’Arenberg.