The Cult of Personality - History of McLaren Vale - Part 4.

There was a time in Southern Vales where there were no cellar doors. Up until the 1970's wineries did not sell direct to the public or undertake direct tourism. One of the first cellar doors in McLaren Vale was started by Enzo Berlingieri as Settlement Wines in the 1970's.

"In 1984 the most flamboyant figure in McLaren Vale, Vincenzo Berlingieri, purchased Oliverhill with, as usual, grand schemes in mind." Oliverhill Wines- Excerpt from "The Australian Wine Compendium" 1985 Edition by James Halliday

"Old times... good times... when dirty ashtrays were a socially acceptable part of the whole cellar door experience", says Enzo's daughter Annika, "As well as tops off Fridays."

Wayne Thomas was a McLaren Vale veteran, having started his winemaking career in 1961, working for Stonyfell, Ryecroft and Saltram before establishing a cellar door at Fern Hill with his late wife Pat in ’75.

Fern Hill in 1984.
When they sold Fern Hill in 1994 they started again, launching the Wayne Thomas Wines label, using grapes sourced from growers throughout McLaren Vale.

Wayne Thomas passed away in April 2007.


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