Craiglee - History
James Stewart Johnston, a member of the Victorian Parliament, and a prominent local businessman, originally planted vines at Craiglee in 1863.
The first plantings comprised about 16 acres, made up of a number of varieties, but over time, 2 varieties proved most successful. These were shiraz and riesling.
James S Johnston made wine at Craiglee for about 12 years, during which time he built a substantial bluestone winery that utilised the gravity feed system. Grapes were brought to the upper level by horse and dray, crushed, fermented on the next level and fed into barrels below. The building is constructed to take advantage of the natural slope, and nestling into the hill behind the house, it affords perfect cellaring conditions year round.
The most notable wine of this period was the 1872 Hermitage (shiraz) which was highly awarded at International Wine shows of the time.
James Johnston retired to Melbourne and was succeeded as winemaker by his son Wilfred, who continued to make wine until the 1920's, when changing economic circumstances and public tastes forced a change of enterprise. The paddocks were turned over to fat lamb production, and the doors were closed on the winery.
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Craiglee Vineyard, Sunbury |
Sunbury Road, Sunbury Victoria 3429 |
Telephone/fax (03) 9744 4489
Contact us online | Cellar Door Hours: Available by appointment only. Phone Pat on 0412 941 927.