Sparkling Wine at Seppelt Great Western

Are you looking for family adventures that you and your kids can cherish for a lifetime? Are you visiting the Grampians and looking for a bottle of premium Grampians wine to take home as your souvenir? Look no further than Seppelt Great Western. Great Western is the wine and food village of the Grampians and at its heart is Seppelt Wines. The Seppelt Cellar Door has the largest network of underground cellars in Australia with 3 kilometres of tunnels beneath the property. To this day you can embark on a historical guided tour seven days a week and marvel at the history and stories of a 160 year old estate narrated to you by your very own Seppelt underground tour guide. Your guide will tell you stories from the wineries humble beginnings to becoming one of the most well known wineries of Australia under businessman Hans Irvine’s reign and in turn under control of the Seppelt family. People around Australia, those who are and are not familiar with Australian wines know a sparkling variety by the name of Great Western Champagne. It was a staple in many households and is still sold today under a different label known as Seppelt Fleur de Lys. Today, the Seppelt Great Western property has over 14 acres of warehouse and production facilities to produce premium award-winning wines however in its beginning, all production was done by hand.

While Hans Irvine was the owner of the property he commissioned French-trained Champagne maker Charles Pierlot to create an Australian adaptation of the French ‘Champagne’, the first of its kind outside of France. 19th century winemakers would undergo a labour intensive process of winemaking known as Methode traditionnelle. Once a still wine or a blend of still wines are added to a bottle, a yeast and sugar mixture is added and the bottle will undergo the fermentation process. In the 1800’s to remove the cloudy lees (the dead yeast cells, leftover from the fermentation process) from the bottles, they are loaded horizontally into wooden racks known as Riddling Racks with the sediment resting in the side of the bottle. The bottles are then Riddled, or given a sharp quarter-turn daily for six weeks, gradually tilting them upside down, drawing the sediment into the neck of the bottle. In Great Western, this process was traditionally carried out in the Great Western cellars but later moved to the above-ground Remuage room (Remuage is the French name for Riddling)

This lees now laying in the neck of the bottle is then disgorged from the bottle and replaced with a solution of wine and sugar (a dosage), giving the sparkling wine its sweetness.

On the Seppelt property, the bottles were then permanently corked, packaged, and labeled before being loaded on the train which ran through the property, giving direct access to Victorias Melbourne, and into our neighboring South Australia. Next time you visit the Grampians, the Seppelt Great Western property is a unique and fun experience to have with your family and friends.

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