Bill Taylor Snr., with his son Bill Jnr., founded Wakefield Wines in 1969 because, after years in the wine distribution and hospitality trade, he believed that knew what wine drinkers wanted. What’s more he had absolute faith that he could not only provide it, but might also rival the best wines of Bordeaux, which he admired greatly.
Selling a portfolio of restaurants and hotels they owned to fund the land purchase, he set out to make wines from his newly acquired 178 hectares of land near the Wakefield River, in the relatively cool Clare Valley of South Australia, that were clearly Australian but with something of the balance of fine claret.
Winning the top medals at every 1973 Australian wine show in which he entered his first vintage of cabernet sauvignon was a pretty good start!
The company remains in family hands, completely independent and with a burgeoning reputation for quality and consistency, with many an award to support it. As founder members of the Australian First Families of Wine group they are in the finest company, alongside Brown Brothers, Tyrell’s, Henschke, Yalumba and d’Arenberg, among others.
And this really is a family concern. Today, the head of the business and winemaker is Bill Snr’s grandson Mitchell who works alongside his brothers Justin and Clinton to ensure the continued success of the company.
The estate now covers 750 hectares, planted with a wide array of grape varieties which, together with fruit drawn from other premium wine regions like Padthaway, Coonawarra and the Limestone Coast further south, offer the capability of producing wines at all price points, whether limited-release premium cuvées or easy-going gems like the Promised Land range.
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