The Winemaking Process at d’Arenberg Winery

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 04/06/2016

Reading time: 3 mins

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. Here you can lookout over the Willunga Hills, and the sprawling Gulf St Vincent. Visitors flock to the winery to taste the selection of wines and learn about the wine making process. Knowledgeable staff are happy to share the process that makes these delicious drinks.

The History of d’Arenberg Winery

Known as one of the most pivotal wineries in McLaren Vale, d’Arenberg was founded in 1912. Teetotaller Joseph Osborn purchased the property with the money he received from selling his prize winning racehorses. In 1921, Joseph died and left the winery to his son, Frank, who built the business up. Initially, Frank sold his grapes to other local wineries. A few years later the wine making potential was realised.

It wasn’t until Francis (also known as d’Arry) was born, that wine making began to take place on site. To begin with, d’Arenberg specialised in creating fortified wines. These were popular in England, and travelled well on ships.

However, 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. He continues to use the traditional methods of his forefathers to create distinctive, much-loved wines.

The Winemaking Process at d’Arenberg

Firstly, grapes are classified with the ideal picking time for each vineyard. Once they reach peak, small batches go through the crushing process.

About two thirds of the way through fermenting, red grapes are crushed by foot. Afterwards, they move through a basket press. White wines, however, go straight into the basket press. D’Arenberg is 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 wine is transferred into barrels. 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.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.