A rich history

The 1870s were a very special decade for our family tree and its roots in the Barossa. One side settled on the fruit farm that would nurture some of the region’s oldest vineyards along with six generations of viticulturists. The other side, meanwhile, discovered a different treasure buried in the bounteous Barossa soil: the region’s first gold mine.

Now, call it luck. Call it mere coincidence, if you wish but 100 years later, the two sides came together in a union that created our family, our winery and, some might say, our destiny: to produce wines worthy of gold.

A leap of faith

In 1987, David and Cheryl Clarke bought their first property, Kabininge, near Tanunda. The family started to plant vines and it could all have ended right there. As the baby vines grew, David and Cheryl’s kids, Sam and Nicole, were conscripted to help water, prune and pick, all by hand. These were the hard yards.

This is when Cheryl took charge and called in her family, the Thorns. Her father, Ron, and her brothers soon had the vineyard in premium condition, and it started to bear fruit – very good fruit, in fact – a tribute to David’s site selection and the Thorns’ vineyard management.

For over 10 years, the vineyards developed a fine reputation and the fruit was sold to neighbouring winemakers, who turned it into award-winning wines. This was pleasing, but hardly fulfilling.

The leap of faith was taken with the 1998 vintage – small batches of Shiraz were made through to wine – and so began the Thorn-Clarke story.

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