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September 06 , 2009

First Vintage

Wine in colonial New South Wales


First Vintage explores the forgotten history of the early Australian wine industry. Few people know that vine cuttings were brought to Australia on the First Fleet and planted in Governor Arthur Phillips garden at Circular Quay, or that botanist and champion of colonial development Joseph Banks encouraged plans to create a wine industry from the earliest years of the colony. Before the assisted migration of German vinedressers in the 1830s, any convict or free settler with a hint of vine growing or wine making expertise was quickly drafted to the cause. First Vintage reveals the people who dreamed of making Australia a wine-drinking country, including influential colonists Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson, Richard Windeyer, John Macarthur and Thomas Mitchell, who all had vineyards. It shows the challenges of choosing vine stock, the battles to protect against pests and diseases, and the innovation of new technologies which assisted small scale growers, many in wine regions which vanished from the landscape and memory for much of the twentieth century.

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