Chateau Reynella enjoys an unrivalled prestige as the birthplace of South Australia's internationally renowned wine industry and home of the state's oldest operating cellar
McLaren Vale is invariably linked to names such as John McLaren, John Reynell and Thomas Hardy. McLaren was appointed as Senior Surveyor and given the task of surveying the southern districts of Adelaide. His report on the rich and extensive valley of McLaren Vale was completed three years after proclamation in 1839. His team came across a wide valley that members of the party named McLaren's Vale. "This wide valley of McLaren gave promise of much beauty and fertility!"
The site which was destined to become South Australia's first winemaking estate was established by John Reynell in 1838, the first family to grow wine grapes commercially in South Australia, releasing the first vintage in 1842. Reynell planted his vines south of the Onkaparinga River, at the northwest corner of the Panalatinga and Reynell Roads. This original site is still productive yielding grapes that are still processed at the original wineworks to this day. Much of Reynell's property was later broken up to form the township which bares his name.
Within ten years, Reynell became the first to export South Australian red wine. His business grew as Chateau Reynella was enjoyed around Australia and throughout the Empire. As his operations flourished and local businesses started up, more workers were attracted to the area and settled in, the beginnings of McLaren Vale. One of Reynell's employees was Thomas Hardy, founder of Hardy Wines, who moved on to establish his own business, and eventually appropriated the Reynell operations.
In 1982 Thomas Hardy and Sons, an established South Australian winemaking family, purchased the winery, upgrading the facilities and restoring the property to reflect its historic past. The company was family owned until 1992, when it merged with Berri Renmano Limited, a successful South Australian wine co-operative to become BRL Hardy. BRL Hardy enjoyed outstanding success in growing the market for Australian wine in world markets.
In 2003 Constellation Brands acquired Hardys and merged it with its own highly successful wine, beer and spirits business - a move that created the world's largest international wine business. They maintained the heritage of the Hardy name and the Australian business was renamed Hardy Wine. Today, the historic Reynell winery is headquarters of Hardys Wines, and set on twenty one picturesque hectares at the gateway to the famous McLaren Vale wine region.
The Reynell wineworks exude classic charm with their restored architecture. In keeping with John Reynell’s spirit, Hardy's drew inspiration from the estate's long heritage and made a decision to utilize the old basket presses and wax lined, open concrete fermenting tanks for the red wines, and to maintain a traditional, elegant style for the whites. Chateau Reynella are completely crafted to traditionalist vinification techniques, a tribute to the winery's founders. The premium McLaren Vale wines regularly receive international critical acclaim. Chateau Reynella was named Top 25 Wines in the World by Wine Spectator and continues to collect trophies around the Australian Wine Show circuit.
The suburbs around Reynella still retain their heritage as a pioneering agricultural colony and maintain links to their historical roots. The region's first hotel, the McLaren Vale Hotel opened in 1857, was subsequently bought by Thomas Hardy who insisted that his innkeeper always keep a room available for him. A vist to the Hardy operations at Reynella is a journey into the past. Take a guided tour through the botanic gardens and past the historical buildings before returning to the cellar door to taste premium wines.