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, after fleeing religious persecution in Kutschlau, Silesia (Germany).
He planted a small vineyard and an orchard, and after initially making wine for family consumption produced his first commercial vintage in 1868, believed to be principally riesling and shiraz.
His son, Paul Gotthard, continued farming and wine making 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, wine making 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 highly revered and much sought-after Hill of Grace is the pinnacle of the red wines - but another shiraz first made by Cyril, the Mount Edelstone, and the Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon introduced by Stephen as a tribute to his father - have forged their own niche with red wine lovers the world over.
Prue's meticulous viticultural management has seen not only new life breathed into the venerable vineyards, but also a new direction given to white wine making 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.
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 wine making memorabilia on display.
Cellar door, located in the original cellar building, has a rustic appeal with its low doorway, stone walls and early family portraits on the walls. Snug in size, it offers a warm welcome to those who venture down the long picturesque road from Keyneton in a quest for quality.