Since 1968, Plantagenet has always been family-owned. From the pioneering spirit of Tony Smith establishing the first Great Southern vineyards to ‘Lionel Samson Sadleir’s Group’, the oldest family business in Western Australia with a pioneering spirit all of their own.
And now by a 6th generation descendant of Lionel Samson, Tom Wisdom, and his wife Jo, who are passionate about retaining the brand within the Samson family and building on this legacy. The vision is to create wines of provenance and distinction that truly reflect the outstanding potential of the Great Southern wine region.
With his small inheritance, Tony Smith bought a farm called Bouverie in the Plantagenet Shire (named after his mother’s maiden name) and literally planted the seeds of the Plantagenet future in 1968 – Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes bore the fruit of what would become some of the most highly awarded and sought after wines, both nationally and internationally. The fruit was picked in 1974 and the wines showed exciting potential, enough for Smith to convert a local apple packing shed into a winery and get to work making tight and lean Shiraz with typical regional spiciness and full-bodied cabernet. Embracing the conditions of the Great Southern’s cool climate, Smith went on to plant further varieties, including Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
After selling his remaining third share of Plantagenet to Lionel Samson & Son in 2000 he remained chairman until 2004. Tony is now retired and lives in Mount Barker with his wife Alison. He has four children and nine grandchildren. The Bouverie property is still held by his family, with its fruit sold to Plantagenet.
Tom Wisdom, former Director of Western Australia’s oldest family business, Lionel Samson Sadleir’s Group, led Plantagenet Wines as the Managing Director for three years under their ownership.
With extensive backgrounds in viticulture and decades of experience in the wine industry, both Tom & Jo are passionate about retaining the Plantagenet brand within the Samson family and building on the legacy of the uniquely West Australian brand.
‘Having been part of the wine industry and Plantagenet journey for many years now, we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to take the reins and guide this historic brand into the future.
The Great Southern Region is one of the nine regions of Western Australia. It is situated 400kms south east of Perth and contains five distinct sub regions over an area of 100km x 150km. It is a landscape of forested cliffs and resplendent mountain ranges, grazing pastures and towns steeped in history. The climate is cool-temperature and strongly influenced by proximity of the Southern Ocean. Rainfall is plentiful and even during the hottest Australian summer, daytime temperatures are moderated by cooling evening sea breezes. The warm days and cool nights of the Great Southern allow maximum retention of acidity and expression of the varietal flavours and aromas required for complex wines.
Lantagenet’s total 126 hectares of vineyard have been carved out of the region’s distinctive Marri soils named after the massive native Marri or Red Gum trees that grow there. The soils are ironstone gravelly loams over a base of clay, sand or the ironstone rock. The vineyards sites are selected where drainage is good enabling control over vine vigour, one of the moust important determinants of fruit quality. The combination of soils, landforms and climate creates wines of rare distinction and quality
Pirramimma vineyards and winery are nestled behind the township of McLaren Vale, running parallel to Tatachilla Road. The mature vineyards are planted to 13 varieties and 40 designated blocks, spread over 300 acres and allow them to produce over 80 different wines, from the iconic McLaren Vale Shiraz, pioneered varieties such as Petit Verdot and Tannat, and an ancient collection of fortifieds.
Founded in 2005, the Barons de Rothschild Champagne House has established strong relationships with partner producers to craft champagnes of a rare elegance from exceptional terroirs and rigorously selected grapes. “Accomplishing through great achievements”, such has been the Rothschild family’s ambition for more than 250 years. Through the strength of its wine-growing experience, the family has joined forces with producers from Champagne to develop excellent champagnes which bring together know-how and tradition.
Anthonij Rupert Wyne was founded on the farm L’Ormarins in Franschhoek. Originally owned by the late Anthonij Rupert, who passed away in 2001, the farm was taken over by his brother Johann Rupert in 2003. It was Johann Rupert who constructed a state-of-the-art winemaking facility on the estate, and the beginnings of what was to become a sprawling enterprise with a focus on terroir-specific wines.
Takara has great experience in producing Shochu , Mirin and Sake for more than one-and-a-half centuries. Because Takara’s main business endeavors depend heavily on the mastery of natural processes such as fermentation, the Company feels a strong responsibility toward preserving the natural environment.
Certain names resonate strongly within Australian wine history and Jim Barry is one of them. It was Jim Barry’s drive that helped shape South Australia’s Clare Valley as a benchmark producer of world class Riesling and cemented it as one of Australia’s premier wine regions.