The story of Orlando Wines is a good example of the progression from a small, family-owned winery which expanded, later became a public company and then part of a multi-national corporation (in this case, Pernod Ricard). Along the way its operators contributed significantly to techniques for making good quality wine in South Australia’s hot, dry Mediterranean climate.
The family story began when Johann Gramp migrated to South Australia from the Bavarian village of Eichig in 1837. By 1847 he was planting rhine riesling vines imported from Germany at Jacobs Creek in the Barossa. His son, Gustav, built a winery at nearby Rowland Flat in 1877, calling it Orlando, an Italian version of the settlement’s name. He made hock-style wine, Carte Blanche, and profited from the wine boom of the 1890s. Trade grew after Federation. In 1912 G Gramp & Sons was formed, and Orlando winery, with Hugo Gramp as director, expanded rapidly. By 1938, when Hugo, along with other wine industry leaders, was killed in the Kyeema air crash, Orlando had a fine reputation for its wines and brandy. The company grew, and its contribution to Australian wine technology increased in 1953 with the release of Orlando's first rhine riesling made in pressure fermentation tanks imported by Colin Gramp to retain varietal flavours. In 1954, Gramp introduced the Charmat process, enabling secondary fermentation of sparkling wines to take place in pressure tanks, and in 1956, helped by Günter Prass, Gramp produced Barossa Pearl, a low-cost, quality sparkling white that gave many Australians their first taste for wine.
The progression to multinational and international status began in 1971 when Orlando was bought by Reckitt & Colman Australia. In 1986 it was attached to the multi-national parent company based in England. Four of Orlando’s directors, with a state government guarantee, bought Orlando back in 1988, then on sold it in 1989 to an overseas group controlled by French company Pernod Ricard, whose investment in the winery and access to world markets have boosted growth, the focus being the Jacobs Creek label. The Jacobs Creek Visitors Centre was opened to the public in 2002.
ABC News, 'Kyeema air disaster lives in the memory, 70 years on' http://www.abc.net.au/news/2008-10-24/kyeema-air-disaster-lives-in-the-memory-70-years-on/181066, accessed 9 June 2015
Auckens, Annely, Vineyard of the empire (Adelaide: Australian Industrial Publishers, 1988)
Baker, Tony, The Orlando way: A celebration of 150 years 1837-1987 (Adelaide: Orlando Wine, 1987)
Beeston, James, A Concise History of Australian Wine (St Leonards: Allen & Unwin, 1994)
Fuller, Peter; Walsh, Brian and the Barossa Winemaking Technical Subcommittee, Barossa (Barossa Valley-Eden Valley) vintage classification, 1947-1998 (Tanunda: Barossa Wine and Tourism Association, 1999)
Pernod Ricard Winemakers, 'Our history', http://www.pernod-ricard-winemakers.com/company/global-reach/our-history.php, accessed on 9 June 2015