Berton Vineyards was established in 1996 by Bob and Cherie Berton when they purchased a block of land in High Eden, a subregion of the Barossa Valley, South Australia. This idyllic property sits 450m above sea level on gently rolling hills - except for the Chardonnay block which is anything but gentle!!
Bob and Cherie set about planting the first Berton Vineyard cuttings that spring - ten acres of Shiraz and seven acres of Chardonnay - without any permanent water - it wasn't until the following year, in 1998 when the dam filled that the vines got a decent drink!! It was due to these conditions and the seemingly hydrophobic podsolic soils that the vines struggled to become established. After a few years where the vines still looked like rootlings, a Swedish friend jokingly called it the bonsai vineyard - and the name stuck and later became the name of our premium Shiraz. High Eden has a high annual rainfall so the vines are looking good these days... but we still remember the early days every time we crack open a bottle of Bonsai! After the dam was established and water plentiful we went on to plant Cabernet sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.
In 2005 the decision was made to purchase a winery to process the 100 odd tonnes that was produced at the High Eden Vineyard. In 2005 when the former Southcorp winery in Yenda became available, Bob and Cherie joined with Jamie Bennett, Paul Bartholomaeus and James Ceccato to form Berton Vineyards the company. The winery was purchased and the guys moved to their new home in November 2005. For the next few months they were kept busy buying up fruit and arranging contact crushing for the 2006 vintage. In January 2006 the first grapes rolled across the weighbridge, and so began the scariest vintage we have all experienced! With very few staff we managed to crush and process 13,000 tonnes. Thankfully life at the winery has become easier since then!
Watch Bob Berton tell the story of how Berton Vineyards began: