Château Tanunda, birthplace of the Barossa, was established in 1890 and is the site of some of the Valley’s first vines planted as well as its first winery. The majestic bluestone winery and vineyards is a living testament to the colourful history and pioneering spirit of Australia’s most famous wine region.
Now, thanks to the passion and dedication of the Geber family, this iconic Barossa estate is celebrated amongst the top wineries in Australia, as it recognises 130 years of fine winemaking in 2020.
With the ‘Old Vines Expressions’ and ‘The Everest’ Wines, Château Tanunda receives regular international recognition by renowned wine critics and wine shows for producing some of the best wines in the world. The signature 150 Year Old Vines 1858 Field Blend, 100 Year Old Vines Shiraz as well as The Everest Old Vine Grenache and The Everest Shiraz are treasured by wine critics, wine lovers and wine collectors alike.
130 Years of Winemaking
Château Tanunda’s origins go back to the decimation of Europe’s vineyards by the phylloxera plague. Sensing opportunity, the founder's grand vision was to build a Château dedicated to crafting fine quality wines. Château Tanunda would become for a while the largest winery in the Southern Hemisphere. European immigrants had been planting vines in the Barossa since the 1840s, so the region was a natural choice. The resulting wines, made from grapes produced by 560 local growers (paid a pound per gallon – a substantial sum at the time), were shipped to a wine starved Europe.
Château Tanunda’s success was the Barossa’s success.
For years it was the heart of Barossa winemaking. A veritable “Ivy League” of Australian winemakers worked or studied at the facility, including Prof. Soebels, Australia’s first qualified oenologist; Bill Seppelt; Grant Burge; Geoff Merrill and others. In 1994, in recognition of its rich history, Château Tanunda was placed on the Register of State Heritage Places – but by then its glory days were a memory. Abandoned by its then-owner, Australian wine giant Southcorp, the property was a shell of its former grandeur.
“The rebirth of Château Tanunda is one of the most remarkable stories of the Australian wine industry.” Huon Hooke
When John Geber chanced upon it in 1998, he embraced the challenge of restoring this magnificent property to its iconic status. Besides a wealth of history and a dilapidated 37,674-foot structure filled with roosting pigeons, what did Mr Geber get for this pursuit? Fast-forward two decades and millions of dollars later, and today Château Tanunda boasts a world-class winemaking facility, 350 acres of vines, a croquet lawn, a cricket oval that has hosted over 40 former international cricketers, and spectacular hospitality spaces that play host to over 100,000 visitors every year.
Further gems include a longstanding contract with over 30 growers who give us access to further precious Barossa vineyards, many tended and passed down through their families over generations.
For the past two decades, John Geber and his family have put their heart, soul and business expertise into breathing new life into this historic icon of Australian winemaking. In 2016, John’s daughter Michelle took up the role of Managing Director, ensuring the family legacy continues into the next generation. In 2020, the Château celebrates its 130th anniversary proudly ranked amongst the top 20 wineries in Australia (Huon Hooke), a Red Five Star Winery (Halliday) and amongst the top Chateau in the world (Berlin Wine Trophy Best Australian Producer 2011-2019).
Our 130 years of winemaking heritage makes it the only internationally-recognised winemaking Château in Australia, a champion of Barossa Old Vine Expressions and is regularly rated amongst the top wine producers in the country.