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Our History

Discover Seppelt

The foundations of Seppelt were laid in 1851 when Joseph Seppelt established Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley. On the other side of the country, young Frenchman Jean Pierre Trouette followed the gold rush to Victoria and formed a partnership with Anne Marie Blampied and her brother, Emile. They established the first vines in the Grampians region with the historic St Peters vineyard in 1863. By 1867, their estate had grown to 50,000 vines.

1851 - 1865

The foundations of Seppelt were laid in 1851 when Joseph Seppelt established Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley. On the other side of the country, young Frenchman Jean Pierre Trouette followed the gold rush to Victoria and formed a partnership with Anne Marie Blampied and her brother, Emile. They established the first vines in the Grampians region with the historic St Peters vineyard in 1863.

The Great Western winery was founded by Joseph Best in 1865. He commissioned local gold miners to tunnel the underground cellars that became known as ‘The Drives.

1865 - 1890s

In 1888, following Joseph Best’s passing, Ballarat businessman Hans Irvine purchased Great Western. In 1890, Irvine hired Frenchman Charles Pierlot to produce the first methode champenoise sparkling wines in Australia, including the uniquely Australian sparkling red wine.

1900 - 1930

By, 1900, Seppelt had become the largest wine company in Australia, with grand plans to expand into global markets. Hans Irvine opened a distribution warehouse in London to sell wine directly to British public in 1905. Benno Seppelt took ownership of the winery in 1918 and put Great Western on the map, not only with the magnificent sparkling wines but also exceptional table wines, particularly Shiraz. In 1910 the Dame Nellie Melba Drive in the underground cellars was opened by the Prima Donna. Legend has it that during her visit, Dame Melba bathed in Seppelt’s finest sparkling wine! .

1932 - 1964

Legendary winemaker Colin Preece became Seppelt’s chief winemaker in 1932 – a role he retained for the next three decades. During his time, the last gold mines in Great Western would be shut down in 1938. The first Chalambar Shiraz was produced in 1953. Seppelt’s sparkling wines became legendary in Australia, sweeping the show circuit from the 1940s to the 1960s, earning a reputation as Australia's most awarded sparkling wine. Les Francis was appointed chief winemaker in 1963 after Colin Preece retired due to ill health, eventually passing in 1979. Francis would go on to pioneer the Drumborg and Padthaway regions, well before cool climate area became fashionable.

1963 - 1992

Pete Weste took over as winemaker in 1968, later passing the baton to Mike Press in 1976. Press would release Seppelt’s first Fleur de Lys sparkling wine. In 1982 Seppelt became Australia's largest wine brand and has continued to be an iconic Australian producer ever since. Ian McKenzie took over winemaking duties in 1983, overseeing the first release of Salinger in 1986, made from classic champagne grape varieties Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. In 1991, Seppelt Salinger 1988 and 1989 jointly win Sparkling Wine of the Year at the London International Wine Challenge. The following year, Seppelt Harpers Range Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec wins the Jimmy Watson, Australia’s most prestigious wine show trophy.

1998 - 2018

Previously known as Great Western Vineyard Shiraz, our flagship wine was re-launched as St Peter’s Shiraz in 1998. Seppelt would celebrate its 150th birthday in 2001. In 2009, the entire Drumborg Vineyard range was released for the first time since 1998, with the first Salinger NV released two years later. The same year, Adam Carnaby was appointed winemaker at Seppelt, a role he continues to this day

2018 and Beyond

In 2018, Seppelt was announced as a Major Partner of the Victoria Racing Club and Melbourne Cup Carnival - including naming rights of Seppelt Wines Stakes Day. 2018 also marked a new chapter for Seppelt, with the debut of an updated aesthetic and the inaugural release of The Seppelt Luxury Collection - showcasing the label’s leading wines and now an anticipated annual release.