Our Heritage

Our Heritage

Full Screen Open heritage timeline Three generations of family winemaking

Our story began three generations ago, with the dream of my grandfather, Bill Taylor Snr, and his sons, Bill and John. Wine merchants in Sydney, all three Taylors were singularly passionate about wine – and most particularly the famous French clarets such as Chateau Mouton Rothschild from Bordeaux. This love affair with exceptionally crafted wine eventually inspired them to try and create a stunning wine of their own…

Red, brown, and gold

Bill Snr, Bill and John set out to find the perfect piece of land to establish a vineyard in the Taylors name. In 1969, after a considerable search, they found a promising 178-hectare site by the Wakefield River in the Clare Valley. They were certain the soil – red brown loam over limestone (now called terra rossa) – would prove conducive to crafting wines of the highest quality. The contrast of warm days and cool nights in the Clare would be equally beneficial – helping the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes ripen in the day, and rest at night.

It didn’t take long for this bold vision to be realised – and critical recognition soon followed. In fact, when they entered their first ever vintage release in the Royal Adelaide Wine Show, it took home the coveted Montgomery Trophy for best red wine in show. The accolades didn’t stop there however – that 1973 vintage won a gold medal at every national wine show it was entered in.

The mark of quality

My family’s conviction that the terra rossa soil of the Clare Valley was perfect for making wine, was borne out with a surprise discovery during the excavation of the vineyard dam. The fossilised remains of tiny seahorses were found in the limestone bedrock– confirmation that the area had once been the bed of an ancient inland sea. After this discovery, it seemed only natural to adopt the seahorse to represent our wines – and today the three seahorses serve as a tribute to three generations of Wakefield winemakers; and as a mark of the quality you’ll find in every bottle of Wakefield wine.


- Mitchell Taylor