Yering Farm Wines Heritage

The greatest service that Australia's First Lieutenant Governor of the Colony of Victoria, Charles Joseph Latrobe, rendered to Australian viticulture in 1854, was to persuade Joseph Deschamps, the son of a head vigneron of Neuchatel, and other of his Swiss friends, to come to grow grapes and to make wine as grapes should be grown and wine should be made.

Hubert De Castella, a pioneer in the Australian wine industry, reflected that it was the immigrant workingmen and their families, not the aspirant Swiss grandees, who succeeded as viticulturists and winemakers in the new land.

To him, the Deschamps were exemplars of the Australian story. Hard work and expertise saw them prosper. In 1854 Victor "Joseph" Deschamps came to Australia from Neuchatel in Switzerland.

The Deschamps family descended from a town in Lower Burgundy near the Beaujolais region. It had long been customary for the eldest male member of each Deschamps family to engage in viticulture, a rule that did not depart for twelve generations. Latrobe had known Joseph at school in Switzerland and encouraged Joseph to come to Australia.

20,000 vine cuttings were obtained from Europe, from the vineyard of Chateau Lafite and planted at Yering. In 1857 Joseph took up the planting contracts at the Yering vineyard and also an extensive draining programme on the Yering flats.

Intent on vine growing, Joseph and his sons put so much skill in to their winemaking that Yering Cabernet were soon recognised as amongst the world's finest. They won prizes against Bourdeaux wines in France. Yering gained a reputation for its red wine from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape and the Yering Cabernet Sauvignon became an important brand. In 1861 it was awarded a 100-guinea gold cup offered by the Argus for the best Victorian wine.

In 1889 it won a grand prix at the Paris Exhibition, the only southern hemisphere wine to receive such an award, and one of only 14 given to wine entries at the exhibition. The Deschamps made excellent wine, continuing to win prizes both at home and abroad. A base wine grown and made by the family into Champagne-methode sparkling wine, a success at the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880-1881.

Yering Cabernet, a red wine resembling Burgundy, if not better. Truly better than Pommard, it was said. The success of Deschamps came from his knowledge and understanding of the terroir of the land. The land at Yering.
Alan, Vicki & Ruth Johns
So, one hundred years later, this land was purchased by the esteemed Johns family, fifth generation orchardists impressed with the land and its fertility. Orchards were planted in 1981 but in 1988 Alan Johns, after researching the history of the property and its success in viticulture decided to resurrect the history of the Yering Cabernet and plant vines to its rightful land.

The terroir was too good to just grow apples and pears, Johns told his father, we should grow grapes! The father dismissing his son's outrageous suggestions as no one is growing grapes, vines are a thing of the past! Johns convinced his father to humour him with five acres on the estate to grow grapes. Given that it was a 200 acre property, five acres was of no consequence, surely. So, it was, five acres of grapes were to be planted on to the Yering property.

Cabernet vines were sourced from the clone acclaimed from the property's forefather, Joseph Deschamps. The plantings took place in 1989. Johns having an orchardist background, grew the Cabernet based on Joseph Deschamps success in the vineyard, following intently his teachings. He resurrected the Yering vineyard with the respect it deserved and today continues to make wines as they were intended.

Under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 it is an
offence to supply alcohol to a person under the age
of 18 years (Penalty exceeds $17,000)

For a person under the age of 18 years to purchase or receive liquor. (Penalty exceeds 17700) Licence No. 32602395

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