Henry's Drive Vignerons
Outstanding wines have led this South Australian winery to the very top
The name is derived from the proprietor, Henry John Hill, of the 19th Century mail coach service that once ran through the property. The coach drivers were highly revered and well-respected since they were the only form of transportation for mail and passengers.
A young couple, Mark and Kim Longbottom, shared a passion for viticulture and winemaking and decided to become involved in the wine business. In 1992, the pair planted the first vines that would become Henry’s Drive Vignerons. First releases occurred in 1998 and began an incredibly successful run in the South Australian wine business. Mark passed away in 2008 and Kim continues the Henry’s Drive progression in his memory. The modern operation occupies some 300 acres in the idyllic Padthaway Valley and another 30 acres in nearby McLaren’s Vale. A number of Henry’s Drive bottles carry a rendition of the original coach that plied the land.
Henry’s Drive selections have had a marvelous career in national and international competitions. This lofty acclaim has led Henry’s Drive Vignerons to the very top ladder of South Australia’s leading wine producers.
Wine Regions of Australia
Australia is home to an amazing array of diverse climates and these are reflected in the country's unique and regionally distinct wine regions. This month's featured wineries are from Western Australia (Frankland Estate) and South Australia, two of the country's top wine producing states. Western Australia is the largest State and spans the western third of the Australian continent.
Its winemaking regions are almost entirely concentrated in the southwest and great southern land divisions, where the climate sees a cooling influence from the Indian Ocean. South Australia is responsible for almost 50% of Australia's annual production and it is home to some of the most famous regions, historic estates, and oldest vines in the country. It is the driest state, but the Murray River supplies critical water for irrigation and the multitude of soils and varying altitude allows for a wide range of wine styles.
Named by the Potawurutj Aborigines the name Padthaway means "good water." The wine region surrounds the town of the same name and is located in Southeastern Australia. Vineyards were first planted in the mid-1960’s and have flourished since inception. A number of top Australian wineries have vineyards in Padthaway including Seppelts, Lindeman’s and Hardy Wine Company. The region is somewhat rectangular, being 39 miles long and 5 miles wide (not too dissimilar to California’s Napa Valley) and occupies almost ten thousand acres of producing vineyards.
Like many South Australian wine regions, Padthaway has an excellent Mediterranean (warm) climate with an abundant underground water supply. Its terra rossa soil provides its vineyards with a unique terroir flavor. Originally part of the ocean sea, the area possesses numerous layers of limestone that significantly helps with grape intensity.
Kim Jackson - Winemaker
Kim Jackson is a twenty-plus veteran of Australian winemaking. She possesses a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and Oenology from the University of Adelaide that she earned in 1998. After graduation, Jackson spent time in the McLaren Vale Region of Southern Australia. She also traveled to France (Nuit St. George, Burgundy) and California (Sonoma County) to learn about the production of wines in those areas.
She is also winemaker for the affluent Shirvington Estate and has won numerous awards for her incredible wines. Jackson is proud of the fact that Henry’s Drive Vignerons only utilizes its estate-grown fruit. “I find this most interesting as a winemaker because the wines can speak to you about the different vintage conditions, which is less possible when you blend your grapes with those from vineyards that will differ from year to year.”
She is considered a role model for South Australian women winemakers, who currently make up more than 25 percent of the graduating classes at Kim’s alma mater, the University of Adelaide.
Australia: Fun Facts!
• Australia has over 60 designated wine regions.
• In Australia, there are more kangaroos than people.
• Australia's Highway 1 is the world's longest national highway. With about 9,000 miles, it circumnavigates the entire country.
• The top ten deadliest snakes can be found in Australia.
• There is a mountain in Australia called Mt. Disappointment because its explorers found the view from it sub-par and wanted to reflect that.
• The world's largest cattle station, Anna Creek Station in Australia, is larger than Israel.
• The Australian Alps receive more snow than Switzerland.
• Vegemite is an Australian food paste made from yeast extract. It is very salty and most often spread on a piece of buttered toast. Aussies swear by it!
• Burning Mountain, Australia, has an underground natural coal fire that has been burning for about 6,000 years.
• Australia exports camels to Saudi Arabia.
• In 1880, Melbourne, Australia was the richest city in the world.
• The world's oldest fossil, which is about 3.4 billion years old, was found in Australia.
• The world's largest reef system, the Great Barrier Reef, is found off the north-eastern coast of Australia. It's 2,600 km long!