Wine Industry

From the arrival of the Macarthur’s first vines in 1817 until the outbreak of phylloxera in 1885 Camden Park was at the centre of the development and growth of the fledgling wine industry in Australia. This contribution included the dissemination of both knowledge and vines to other wineries throughout Australia.

John and his sons James and William took the first steps to commercialising the wine industry during a tour of Europe in 1815 and 1816 when they both collected vine cuttings and studied viticulture and wine making. Returning to N.S.W in 1817 in a ship specially fitted out to sustain the collected vines, they planted their first of three vineyards at Camden. This first vineyard met with little success and was replaced by a second vineyard on a better site in 1830.

It was through the efforts of John’s son William that Camden Park was able to successfully develop a winery and greatly assist with the development of the wine industry in both N.S.W and South Australia. William's contribution to expanding the wine industry included arranging for the immigration of experienced wine growers from Germany to oversee the development of the Camden Park vineyard. Many of these immigrants after meeting their contractual obligation to William would go on to found and develop their own wineries. William also contributed to the growth of this fledgling industry through the selling of cuttings of various varieties and also through providing advice and writing on the subject of how to establish vineyards in Australia.

During the 1830’s and 1840’s wine produced on Camden Park was principally sold in N.S.W though some exports of brandy are recorded as being made as early as 1832. It was not until after the Paris Exhibition of 1855, (which William attended in his capacity of N.S.W Commissioner), where Camden Park wines acquired a reputation for quality that international exports flourished.

The remains of the large stone vats which overlooked the third vineyard are still evident today while the extensive cellars of Camden Park and it contents of mainly empty bottles (whose contents evaporated many years ago) provide a lasting testament to an industry that came to, and then with the death of William in 1882 and the arrival of phylloxera in 1885,  departed from Camden Park.

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