Sunday, December 27, 2009


These ugly images, taken on Christmas day, are from what was once a historic vineyard site adjacent the Hardys winery, on the corner of Reynell and Panalatinga Roads at Reynella. Much was written and spoken of when Constellation sold the land to Pioneer Homes earlier this year, and here's the present day picture. You can just see the manicured hedge and entrance signs to Hardys headquarters in the left of the top image. Not that long ago it was nothing but rare suburban vines (diseased from what I've been told by Hardys reps), soon it will be common suburban housing.

I grew up at Reynella, in fact, the house I lived in until I was 20 sat roughly 400 metres from this vineyard site.

South of this vineyard lies Panalatinga Creek (which is suspiciously drier and filled with more overgrown shrubs than what I remember), partnered by the Old Reynella walking trail, which stems from my old family home to the historic Old Reynella settlement in the west.

But directly south sits the monument of John Reynell's (early settler of Reynella) first home, marked by no more than four pine trees, two park benches and a plaque. The monument overlooks the now old vineyard site, providing what was an idyllic view across a historically significant piece of Reynella's heritage. Incidentally, a good section of the vineyard was replanted the same year I was born.

As rambunctious teenagers my friends and I would often congregate at John Reynell's monument. We were too young to drink at home, so we'd often take the a short afternoon stroll to this most placid and relaxing of environments. There, we would drink beer (usually West End Draught) and discuss the current events in our lives and our futures. It gave us somewhere to get away from the rigours of adolescent life. I can recall my first memorable food/alcohol match being discovered while overlooking the vineyard, it was my friend Casey's home brew Coopers Sparkling Ale paired with peanuts. Hardly earth shattering, but when you're 15 in Reynella the world of Wagyu and Lafite is a long way away.

To be honest, none of us even realised there was a vineyard in front of us, what it was there for, or its significance. None of it mattered. All that mattered was we had somewhere to go. And what a lovely place it was too.

Future generations of Reynella's children won't get the same privileges offered to us as kids. They can sit at Reynell's monument if they like, but I hope they enjoy the site of a back fence, just as I hope its residents enjoy the site of kids drinking behind their back fence.


  1. Harsh but fair and yes, very ugly images

  2. Used to enjoy Chateau Reynella Tawny Port as it was very affordable. Was looking forward to tasting their 100 year old library ports if I ever made it there.Now I must scale back my expectations.

  3. is the oldest underground wine cellar still at this site or has it also been demolished.I was there in 1976 on my way back from W.A. to albury

  4. I was just looking at my bottle of vintage 1971 Chateau Reynella Vintage Port I purchased in 1976.One of 6 bottles left. I will open it next year when I retire.

  5. I have a bottle of Bin 2 Chateau Reynella Claret
    Vintage 1951 26 fluid ozs

    Does any one know any thing about it?

    All the label says is: "A fine South Australian vintage produced and bottled by Walter Reynell & sons LTD"
    Its unopened and appears to be in good condition. Wine is still at the bottle neck

    1. It's a belend of Cab Sav and Shiraz and probably over the hill by now. They used to make 3 reds, the claret, "burgundy" (straight shiraz) and a cab sav that came in numbered bottles and really needed about 20+ years before you touched it. The cab sav was as good as the best first growth bordeaux reds - similar to a Chateau Margaux IMHO.