St. Andrews Celebrates 125 Years

The Register&nbspwrote in 1903 | 'The valley of the Wakefield contains some of the finest land in South Australia. &nbspIt does one’s heart good to drive through it.' The grape varieties planted at St Andrews were Cabernet Sauvignon | Shiraz | Malbec | Mataro | Cabernet Gris and Zante Currant (used mainly for dried fruit). In good years they produced up to six tons of dried currants. The orchards were planted to apples (900 trees) | plums (600 trees) and apricots (300 trees). Construction of the stone | gravity flow winery and cellars began in 1895 and it was used for the first time in the vintage of 1896 when 3500 gallons of wine were made (15 |911 litres). The original wine cage was the hollow log of a large gum tree and the press a 1.5 tonne log which worked as a lever. Production of wine increased rapidly over the next few years - 10 |000 gallons in 1897 | 15 |000 gallons in 1898 | increasing to 28 |000 gallons in 1903.

And the St Andrews wines did became very well-known. Christison &ampLyall concentrated on making a light claret style wine for the export market with much of the wine being exported to England. They also produced 'a very fine fruity port' for which there was strong local demand. Ernest Whitington from&nbspThe Register |&nbspreported in&nbspThe South Australian Vintage 1903 | 'Only the best sorts of vines are planted at St Andrews and most of them are trellised. In every way | the vineyard is worked on the most up-to-date scientific principles. The winery and cellars are well built | substantial and fitted with modern appliances. Mr Lyall has succeeded in making a first-class wine at St Andrews and it is admirably suited for the export trade. He is one of the most popular men in the district and everyone wishes him the best of luck.'

In August 1907 David and Emily Lyall purchased John Christison’s interest in the business. By 1910 the storage capacity of the winery had grown to 80 |000 gallons | making it the second largest winery in the Clare district. The winemaker from 1919 to 1926 was Michael Auld | later Managing Director of Stonyfell Wines (1943). Vintages in the 1920s produced up to 28 |000 gallons of wine. The last vintage was in 1932. The Lyalls sold St Andrews in March 1934 to pastoralist Joseph Kenworthy. David Lyall retired to Walkerville. He died at Medindie on 27 August 1956 aged 96buried at North Road Cemetery. Joe Kenworthy was more interested in livestock grazing and race-horses than wine production and most of the vineyards were pulled out. He developed a Merino stud at St Andrews and converted the winery into a woolshed. The St Andrews house was rebuilt in its current two-storied form in 1939. The Kenworthys were great supporters of the local community. They would often give the use of their place for a annual fundraising events.

Joseph Kenworthy died in 1943 aged 70. His funeral&nbspcortège&nbsptravelled from St Andrews to the Auburn Cemetery. Mrs Blanche Kenworthy remained at St Andrews for a further 30 years following her husband’s death. Mrs Kenworthy | who became one of the largest landowners in the districtdied in May 1972. &nbspIn 1959 | prior the Mrs Kenworthy’s death | the homestead and some of the Kenworthy’s land passed to Lawrence and Daphne Iskov. (Daphne was Blanche Kenworthy’s grand-daughter). The Taylor family &nbspquickly recognised the potential of the adjacent St. Andrews property when they were first establishing their vineyards in the Clare Valley | and wanted to make it a part of the estate. So | on 2nd of November 1995 the family purchased the property and became proud custodians of a piece of Australian wine history. They immediately set about the task of ’recreating history’ and began restoring the property to its original purpose | a vineyard to produce handcrafted wines that stand alongside Australia’s iconic wine names and proudly showcase their Clare Valley origins. The St Andrews vineyard now forms part of the overall Taylor family estate | which consists of 750 hectares in total with over 400 hectares under vine | planted in the finest terra rossa soils.