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
You'll find the author's sources for this article under the sources tab above, this might point you in the direction of the specific information you're after. It's also worth checking the State Library of South Australia collections, among other things they have a collection of wine labels worth looking through - https://www.catalog.slsa.sa.gov.au/
Trying to read up on Orlando’s ribbon series whites of the 1980’s..... these were the best affordable Aussie white wines ever.
Wolf Blass copied the series with inferior cheap whites and the Orlando series disappeared.
Why can’t I find anything about this great series of quality but affordable wines?
I'm afraid bottles are not something I know a lot about Don. You could try searching Trove - https://trove.nla.gov.au/ and the State Library of South Australia has an amazing wine label collection that may help narrow down your timeline - https://wine-literature.collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/
Otherwise I would look for a local dealer who has knowledge of bottle markings from the antiques trade and see if they recognise your bottle signatures.
Best of luck in your research!
I found a bottle in a canister called Orlando Liqueur port it has a signature of the wine maker but I can't make it out I also found 2 other bottles from another maker now no longer made and we think both were bough about 40 years ago can you help me track down the time line on the port. many thanks Areke Duthie
Sounds like a treasure Matthew, have you tried getting in touch with the winery?
I have a bottle of port that my dad received as a gift from a client 20+ years ago that has been stored and collecting dust for a long time. I can't find anything about it anywhere. It say Orlando Wines first Cellar Door on the label and then a bit of history.
I'm afraid as a government organisation with a history focus we're not best placed to advise on sales points Gary. I would try contacting Orlando directly and asking about their distribution points.
Where can I purchase Orlando Malbec in western Australia
I am trying to buy a bottle of the Orlando tawny port 1968. If anyone know of one that is available please email me. Regards... Dave.
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