Skip to content | Skip to document navigation

Research Guides


Commonwealth Government Records about South Australia


Wine, brandy and brewing

Wine

Image 20: Grape harvest time at the G Gramp and Sons Vineyards, Barossa Valley, South Australia, 1968

Image 20: Grape harvest time at the G Gramp and Sons Vineyards, Barossa Valley, South Australia, 1968
Photographer: Wolfgang Sievers.
NAA: B941, wine/vineyards/2
Enlarge image - View image gallery

Grape vines were first planted in South Australia in 1837 and the colony's first wine was produced in 1843. The areas under viticulture by the end of the 19th century included Adelaide, Reynella and the Barossa Valley. The production of wine reached 4 million litres for the year 1869. In 1913–14 South Australia was producing about 60 per cent of Australian wine. Vine-growing and wine-making have been important activities in South Australia since its inception, and by 2000 South Australia held 42 per cent of the national total area of grape vines.

South Australia benefited from the removal of inter-colonial tariffs at Federation in 1901. The state was also free of phylloxera infestation, profiting from the devastation of other grape-growing areas around the world in the late 1800s. It entered the 20th century with a strong footing in the global wine-production market.

Commonwealth Government involvement has been concerned mainly with the regulation of the wine industry, provision of research and development grants, and marketing and promotion of wine for export.

The Collector of Customs, Adelaide assumed responsibility from the South Australian colonial government at Federation. Its functions included the collection of excise revenue, development and protection of the industry, and encouragement and regulation of overseas trade.

In 1929 the Wine Overseas Marketing Board was constituted under the Wine Overseas Marketing Act 1929. The board regulated wine and brandy intended for export, and was empowered to handle, market, store and ship Australian wine. From 1936 until 1981 it was known as the Australian Wine Board; since 1981, has been called the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation. The corporation is the controlling organisation for the industry and has its head office in Adelaide.

The Wine Research Act 1955 provides for the funding of the Australian Wine Research Institute, which was incorporated in South Australia the same year. The institute aims to carry out applied research in the field of oenology, be involved in the teaching of oenology at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and assume responsibility for the coordination of oenological activities and viticultural research for the benefit of the Australian wine industry.

Records held by the Archives relating to wine comprise files created by the Collector of Customs, then Australian Customs Service; Patents, Trade Marks and Copyright Office; Australian Industrial Property Organisation (IP Australia); and the now defunct State Deputy Prices Commissioner. Types of records include albums of labels, promotional material, photographs, surveys and correspondence.

Selected series relating to wine in South Australia
Canberra, Sydney
Recorded by: Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, Magill, South Australia
Correspondence files, 1962– A1690
Adelaide
Recorded by: Wine Overseas Marketing Board Australian Wine Board, Adelaide
General correspondence files, 1924–73 AP1136/4
Inwards and outwards correspondence, also annual reports, 1929–60 AP178/1
Correspondence, agendas, minutes, reports extracted from registry, 1929–66 AP407/1
Correspondence files, 1951– D1013
Overseas correspondence files, 1956–73 AP1136/5
Selected series that contain records relating to wine in South Australia
Adelaide
Recorded by: Collector of Customs/Australian Customs Service, State Administration, South Australia
Distillery and brewers diaries, 1902–69 D2240
Historical records relating to Customs and Excise, South Australia, 1841–1995 D5063
Correspondence files, 1871–1962 D596
Correspondence files, 'Z' (National Security Regulations), 1939–45 D1975
Correspondence files, 1962– D737
Adelaide
Recorded by: State Deputy Prices Commissioner, South Australia
Prices regulation, administrative and policy files, investigation cases and financial statement/trading result files, 1939–48 AP5/1
Selected items relating to wine in South Australia
Canberra
Wine Grapes Bill of South Australia, 1934 A432, 1934/942
Adelaide
Information requests re vintage, 1900 D4868, 1900/911
Labels – Penfolds wines, 1933–67 D737, 1970/4982
Group review – wine makers of South Australia, 1939–48 AP5/1, 1945/2617A
History of the wine industry in South Australia, 1958–60 D737, S1966/9560
South Australian Royal Commission into the Grape Growing Industry, 1965–66 D737, S1966/11733
Wine survey of sales in South Australia, 1970–74 D737, 1970/11042
Australian Wine Board – public relations general – includes press clippings, photographs and drafts of promotional articles, 1974–75 AP1136/2, 237/6
Selected items relating to wine in South Australia – People
Canberra
Correspondence with Edmond Mazure concerning invention entitled 'Improvements in wine making', 1897 A4618, 7426
World War II service file – Max Edmund Schubert, 1939–48 B883, SX6898
Giovanni Patritti – purchase of property near Brighton, South Australia, 1946 A12217, L12727
Migrant selection documents – Domenico Scarpantoni, 1951–52 A2478, SCARPANTONI D
Adelaide
Memorial of naturalisation – Benno Oskar Pedro Seppelt, 1868 A711, 348
Alien registration card – Wolfgang Franz Otto Blass, 1961–76 D4881, BLASS WOLFGANG FRANZ OTTO
Alien registration form – Serafino (Steve) Maglieri, 1962–69 D4878, ITALIAN - MAGLIERI S
Selected items relating to wine in South Australia – Research
Canberra
Wine Research Institute – registration as a company in South Australia – preparation of memorandum of articles of association, 1954–62 A432, 1954/838
Australian Wine Research Institute – submissions to minister, 1955 A425, 1955/2568
Financing of the Australian Wine Research Institute, 1975 A5915, 1885
Adelaide
Report on oenological research by John Charles Macleod Fornachon, director of research at the Australian Wine Research Institute, 1954–55 D737, S1965/8246
Australian Wine Research Institute, 1958–59 D737, S1965/8240
Selected items relating to wine in South Australia – Images
Canberra
Grape pickers, Seppeltsfield Winery, 1896 A12111, 2/1918/20A/32
Wolf Blass Winery, Barossa Valley, 1974 A6180, 11/9/74/21
Adelaide
Lithograph show-poster 'Spring Vale Wines', plus copyright form, 1902 D4477, 473

Distilleries

Prior to Federation in 1901 the Australian colonies levied their own customs and excise duties. At Federation this responsibility passed to the Commonwealth. The products most commonly subjected to excise duty include wine, spirits, beer, tobacco and petroleum.

Given South Australia's leading role in the Australian wine and spirit industry, both before and since Federation, excise control has been a prominent and longstanding practice. The main product of South Australian distilleries has been potable spirit, but commercial distilleries also existed for the production of dry-cleaning fluid, methylated spirits and eucalyptus oils.

Records held by the Archives relating to the distillation industries list many commercial organisations and, due to the distributed nature of the wine and spirit industry, cover a number of South Australian regions. Types of records include distillery diaries, customs files, registers and trading results.

Selected series relating to distilleries in South Australia
Adelaide
Recorded by: Collector of Customs/Australian Customs Service, State Administration, South Australia
Correspondence files, 1871–1962 D596
Record book of letters received, distilleries – excise branch, 1887–1902 D5087
Register of letters despatched and received (distilleries), 1888–1905 D5098
Docket correspondence files, 1889–1900 D4868
Distillery and brewers diaries, 1902–69 D2240
Record books of letters received, 1903–47 D5085
Correspondence files, 1962– D737
Adelaide
Recorded by: State Deputy Prices Commissioner, South Australia
Prices regulation, administrative and policy files, investigation cases and financial statement/trading result files, 1939–48 AP5/1
Selected items relating to distilleries in South Australia
Adelaide
Distillation licences, 1900 D4868, 1900/1019
Australian brandy – sold as pure grape brandy, 1903 D596, 1903/2367
Tolley's St Agnes – distillery diary, 1914–33 D2240, volume 270
Illicit distillation detected – payment of rewards to police officers, 1936–38 D596, 1936/2978
Formulae for the manufacture of Peach Brandy Liqueur, Berri Co-op Winery and Distillery Ltd, 1947 D596, 1947/625
Tariff classification – gin distilled from molasses – Vintage Cellars Ltd, 1961 D596, 1961/2073

Beer and brewing

Brewing was one of the earliest industries in South Australia, a state well known for its beer production. From 1901 the regulation and control of the beer industry became the responsibility of the Commonwealth through the Collector of Customs for South Australia.

The Beer Excise Act 1901 resulted in a great decline in breweries in the early 20th century in South Australia, with few of the 25 registered breweries in 1900 surviving into the mid-1950s. During World War II, the regulation of beer prices was administered by the State Prices Commissioner for South Australia.

Records held by the Archives relating to beer and brewing in South Australia include brewers' diaries, trademark applications and registers of labels, pricing regulation files and correspondence.

Selected series relating to beer and brewing in South Australia
Adelaide
Recorded by: Collector of Customs Australian Customs Service, State Administration, South Australia
Docket correspondence files, 1899–1900 D4868
Correspondence files, 1871–1962 D596
Correspondence files, 'Z' (National Security Regulations), 1939–45 D1975
Correspondence files, 1962– D737
Register of letters despatched and received (distilleries), 1888–1905 D5098
Declarations under the Beer Duty Act of 1894, 1894–95 AP52/2
Distillery and brewers diaries, 1902–69 D2240
Adelaide
Recorded by: Sub-collector of Customs/Port Pirie, South Australia
Correspondence files, 1915–52 AP378/2
Selected series that contain records relating to beer and brewing in South Australia
Adelaide
Recorded by: Commonwealth Railways Commissioner
Correspondence files, 1913–83 B300
Adelaide
Recorded by: Postmaster-General's Department, State Administration, South Australia
Correspondence files, 1895–1964 D959
Adelaide
Recorded by: State Deputy Prices Commissioner, South Australia
Prices regulation, administrative and policy files, investigation cases and financial statement/trading result files, 1939–48 AP5/1
Adelaide
Recorded by: Patents, Copyright and Trade Marks Offices, South Australia
Trademarks 'Class' index (classes 1 to 50), 1867–1906 AP494/6
Caveats to patent applications, 1878–94 AP476/6
Selected items relating to beer and brewing in South Australia
Canberra
Petition from persons in the Wirrabara District, South Australia, concerning supplies of beer for the Wirrabara Hotel, 1943 A1539, 1943/W/584
Adelaide
Thomas Cooper and Sons – notice by brewers Beer Duty Act 1894 – Thomas Cooper, 1894 AP52/2, 18/10/94 – UPPER KENSINGTON
Collection of duty on beer consumed by brewery employees on the premises, 1915–25 D596, 1922/2804
Register of approved labels, 1929–39 D5063, SA2
Bottling of bulk beer for hotels by bottling agencies, 1949–50 D737, S1966/10575
Transfer of bulk operations to West End and bottling operations to Southwark South Australian Brewing Company Ltd, 1957 D737, S1966/9973
Use of aluminium casks – South Australian Brewing Company, 1960–65 D737, S1966/9977

TOP OF PAGE

Chapter 14
Primary industries and natural resources