Discover the Seppelt Legacy

Step back in time to 1851 when Joseph Seppelt laid the foundations of Seppeltsfield in the picturesque Barossa Valley. Simultaneously, on the other side of the continent, French adventurer Jean Pierre Trouette, captivated by the gold rush, partnered with Anne Marie Blampied and brother Emile to establish the historic St Peters vineyard in Great Western by 1863. The vineyard flourished, boasting 50,000 vines by 1867.

1851 – 1865

Seppelt’s roots go deep into the Barossa Valley, founded by Joseph Seppelt in 1851. Across the continent, Jean Pierre Trouette ventured to Victoria during the gold rush, joining forces with Anne Marie Blampied and Emile to plant the first vines in the Grampians region at the iconic St Peters vineyard in 1863. In 1865, Joseph Best founded the Great Western winery, using fruit and cutting from the St Peters vineyard.  Joseph Best also commissioned local miners to create the renowned underground cellars known as ‘The Drives.’

1865 – 1890s

After Joseph Best’s passing in 1888, Ballarat businessman Hans Irvine acquired Great Western. Under Irvine’s leadership, Frenchman Charles Pierlot was hired in 1890 to craft Australia’s first methode champenoise sparkling wines, including the unique Sparking Shiraz.

1900 – 1930

By 1900, Seppelt (still based in South Australia) had grown into Australia’s largest wine company, expanding globally. Hans Irvine from his Great Western base  established a distribution warehouse in London in 1905. Benno Seppelt (Joseph’s eldest son) purchased Irvine Wines in 1918, further establishing Great Western on the map with sparkling and table wines, especially Shiraz. In 1910, the legendary Dame Nellie Melba Drive opened in the underground cellars, where it’s said she bathed in Seppelt’s finest sparkling wine!

1932 – 1964

Colin Preece, a renowned winemaker, assumed the role of Seppelt’s chief winemaker. The iconic Chalambar Shiraz debuted in 1953, and Seppelt’s sparkling wines dominated Australian shows from the 1940s to the 1960s. Les Francis, appointed chief winemaker in 1963, pioneered the Drumborg and Padthaway regions.

1963 – 1992

Winemakers Pete Weste (1968) and Mike Press (1976) continued the legacy, with Press introducing Seppelt’s first Fleur de Lys sparkling wine in 1982.
Ian McKenzie, winemaker from 1983, oversaw the release of Salinger in 1986 and, in 1991, the Sparkling Wine of the Year award at the London International Wine Challenge.

1998 – 2017

Great Western Vineyard Shiraz rebranded as St Peter’s Shiraz in 1998. Seppelt celebrated its 150th birthday in 2001. In 2011, Adam Carnaby became winemaker, contributing to the sought-after styles and introducing new celebrated wines.


Great Western Enterprises, a local family become custodians of the historic Great Western Estate. Led by Chair, Danial Ahchow, and his Father, CEO Bruce, their team proudly operates the Great Western Cellar Door, underground tours, wedding and events. They are passionate of the wines produced from the vineyards and the amazing Grampians Wine Region. They have witnessed record numbers of visitors to the property and work tirelessly to bring people to Great Western.

2020 And Beyond

In November 2020, Clare Dry joined Seppelt as the lead winemaker, bringing her expertise and focus on crafting outstanding still and sparkling wines to the esteemed portfolio. Explore the enduring legacy of Seppelt as we continue to write our story.


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