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The Henschke family is one of the longest-established wine names in the Barossa. Johann Christian Henschke purchased land for a farm at Keyneton in 1861 and planted a small vineyard and orchard, and produced his first commercial vintage in 1868. His son, Paul Gotthard, continued farming and winemaking and planted more vines to increase wine production. Upon his father's death in 1914, third-generation Paul Alfred took over the property and as demand for fortified wines grew, winemaking assumed greater significance. Each generation built upon the reputation for quality, but it was fourth-generation Cyril Alfred Henschke who in 1958 created the wine that has most captured the red wine world's imagination - Hill of Grace. His first vintage of this Shiraz was produced in 1958.
Today, fifth-generation Stephen Henschke and his wife Prue uphold the family name and reputation, as winemaker and viticulturist respectively. The original two-storey cellar, built into the side of the hill in time for the 1868 vintage, has been added to throughout the generations. Now covered with ivy, the stone building retains an old-world charm with its open fermenters and winemaking memorabilia on display.
Prue's meticulous viticultural management has seen not only new life breathed into the venerable vineyards, but also a new direction given to white winemaking that their forebears could never have imagined. For instance riesling from both Eden Valley and the newer Lenswood vineyard are contributing to the re-emergence of this classic variety, while research developments in colour and flavour have led to enormous improvements in quality in the Keyneton Estate and Mount Edelstone wines through improved trellising and fruit exposure.
However it is the iconic red wines of the Eden Valley; Mount Edelstone, Cyril Henschke and Hill of Grace that offer Henschke a unique position in the hearts and minds of critics, trade and consumers alike. They are a cut above and have rightfully gained intenational recognition as simply some of the finest wines produced in Australia and amongst the most sought-after in the world.