The Pewsey Vale story begins in 1839 when Englishman, Joseph Gilbert, left his home in the Vale of Pewsey and headed to Australia. Shortly afterwards, he bought 15,000 acres in the Barossa Valley and soon after purchased more land in the high altitudes of Eden Valley to the south. Gilbert planted vines on his property, yet the first plantings were of table grapes unsuitable for winemaking. In 1947 Gilbert planted grapes specifically for winemaking, thus establishing Eden Valley’s first winery. Gilbert often adapted his winemaking, his efforts were instrumental in supporting industry growth within the Eden Valley, where he made his grapevines available to other winemakers. Despite Gilbert’s efforts, the winery fell into disuse, particularly during the Depression. It wasn’t until 1961, when the current owner discovered that his property housed the region’s oldest vineyard, that work was undertaken to restore Pewsey Valley to its former glory. Fifty-six hectares of Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon were thus planted and by 1969, Pewsey Vale had already won its first award for its Riesling, the only wine they now make. The winery was well ahead of its time, being the first to use the Stelvin screw cap to seal bottles of wine. It took Pewsey Vale another 20 years before winemakers began to accept it en masse. Louisa Rose has been the winemaker at Pewsey Vale since 1996.
Pewsey Valley has an excellent reputation for its Rieslings, yet even their highest-priced drop is still amazing value. ‘The Contours Riesling’ is released when it’s five years old, and even with that age it still has intense aromas of lime, and lemon, with toast from bottle age.