Two Hardy siblings and their cousin are following in their great-great-great grandfather’s footsteps with notable wines made under their own labels.
When Bec Hardy was a kid, growing up on her parents’ property in McLaren Vale in the 1980s, she was given her own bit of the garden to grow vegies.
Read the whole article in the Australian Financial Review here.
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Established by her father in 1980, Bec Hardy has taken over the ownership of McLaren Vale brand Pertaringa, becoming the first female member of the Hardy family to own her own vineyard and produce her own wine. We catch up with her to find out what a typical day looks like for her.
Read the whole article in Eat. Live. Escape. here.
As Bec Hardy takes over ownership of the McLaren Vale winery in its 40th year, its ‘hero’ wine receives near perfect score
Just weeks after announcing she has taken over ownership of her father’s 40-year-old wine brand, Pertaringa, Bec Hardy, a sixth-generation member of the famous wine family is celebrating a near perfect score from Australia’s most influential wine critic. James Halliday this weekend afforded the 2017 vintage of the Tipsy Hill Cabernet Sauvignon with a 99-point score, a rarely bestowed near perfect result.
Halliday describes it as a ‘marvellous wine, fluid, juicy and vibrant, with a very long finish, the tannins a gossamer web.”
The Tipsy Hill Cabernet Sauvignon comes from what Halliday has previously referred to as a ‘pocketchief size’ single vineyard at the Blewitt Springs home of Bec Hardy and her husband, co-MD Richard Dolan, from where its name originates. The property was named after the rare Tipsy Hill Imperial Concubine rose, planted in the beautiful gardens by its previous owners.
Bec Hardy took the reins of Pertaringa from her father on 1 July 2020, as part of the family’s natural succession planning, making her the first woman in the famous Hardy wine family to own her own vineyard and produce her own wine. The family’s name became part of legend back in 1850 when her great-great-great grandfather, Thomas Hardy arrived from the UK, and went on to become widely known as the father of the South Australian wine industry.
Bec comments, “This 99-point score for our treasured Tipsy Hill Cabernet Sauvignon is the icing on the cake in a month filled with milestones. Having taken over from my parents just a few weeks ago, it’s so rewarding that we can collectively share this honour. We know this wine is something special but having someone as revered as James Halliday agreeing with us is testament to the hard work of the viticulture and winemaking teams involved.
“It’s even more touching for us, knowing the grapes were sourced directly from the vineyard on our property, which we see as the natural home of Bec Hardy Wines. As we celebrate 40 years of Pertaringa, this 99-point score highlights what we have always worked towards achieving: to craft exceptional wines that truly reflect the special pocket of the world that is McLaren Vale.”
Along with the 99-point score for the 2017 Tipsy Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, James Halliday also bestowed a 97-point score on the 2017 Yeoman Shiraz and a 95-point rating for the 2017 Pertaringa ‘Over the Top’ Shiraz.
Read Huon Hooke’s article in the Real Review about the ownership change.
Bec Hardy and her plans for the Pertaringa brand and cellar door were featured in the Advertiser this week. Read more here.
The Pertaringa cellar door is currently being refurbished to appropriately reflect the premium aesthetic of the brand, and provide a welcoming space for wine-lovers to relax and learn more about the portfolio.
In the meantime, Bec Hardy Wines’ other home – Bec and Richard’s beautiful Tipsy Hill estate – has been featured in the premium lifestyle publication, Australia Country Magazine.
Click here to read the article.
Established by her father in 1980, Bec Hardy has taken over the ownership of McLaren Vale brand Pertaringa, becoming the first female member of the Hardy family to own her own vineyard and produce her own wine.
On 1st July, sixth generation Hardy family member Bec took over the ownership and running of Pertaringa together with her husband and company joint managing director, Richard Dolan.
The Hardy name has been synonymous with South Australian wine since the 1850s and Bec Hardy continues that tradition, building on the experience and reputation of her predecessors.
“My family has been tending vineyards in the premium maritime region of McLaren Vale since the early 1850s when my great-great-great grandfather, Thomas Hardy, arrived from the UK,” Bec said, “He went on to become one of McLaren Vale’s first settlers and is widely regarded as the father of the South Australian wine industry.”
In 1980, Bec’s father Geoff left the then family-owned Hardys to make his own way in the Australian wine world. The same year, he purchased the Pertaringa vineyard in the foothills of McLaren Vale.
Inspired by her father’s passion for cultivating premium fruit and producing fine wines, Bec also went on to study and work in the wine industry in both Australia and overseas. In 2010, she returned to South Australia and joined her father’s company, Wines by Geoff Hardy.
Bec taking over the Pertaringa element of the business has been part of the family’s succession planning for years and is a natural progression of the sixth generation continuing the hard work of their predecessors. It will be ‘business as usual’ in the short term, as the team continues to work with the group of McLaren Vale growers who have been instrumental in fueling Pertaringa’s success, ensuring consistency in the quality and style of wines. Going forwards, Bec will consider additional recruitment to strengthen the winemaking team, to further complement the brand’s evolving style and philosophy.
“I’m really excited to start this new chapter and very grateful to my parents for giving me this opportunity,” Bec continues, “While we never envisioned acquiring Pertaringa in the midst of a global pandemic, this is something my family has been working together on for some time. We’re grateful to my mum and dad for allowing Richard and I to become the next custodians of the Pertaringa brand, which celebrates its fortieth year in 2020 and makes up about 80% of the Wines by Geoff Hardy business. We understand the business well, having managed it successfully since 2011, and seeing it grow to be five times the size today as it was back then.”
Immediate plans include refurbishing the Pertaringa cellar door, to appropriately reflect the premium aesthetic of the brand, and provide a welcoming space for wine-lovers to relax and learn more about the portfolio. Renowned interior designer Georgie Shepherd has been appointed to oversee the project, which is scheduled for completion later in July, in time to welcome visitors back to McLaren Vale following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
Bec and Richard also plan to continue their successful export journey, as and when international travel opens up and it is appropriate and safe to do so. Together, the couple grew Wines by Geoff Hardy’s wine exports by 788% and achieved eight years of double-digit export growth – culminating in being named Australian Exporter of the Year 2017 and Regional Exporter of the Year 2019.
Geoff and Fiona Hardy will continue to manage the running of the K1 brand and cellar door, as well as associated events.
When Jock Tulloch hosted a tasting event to showcase his family’s wines this year, he threw a party in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with a DJ, tapas and an upbeat vibe. “I didn’t want anything stuffy,” says the 31-year-old. “No sit-down dinner, long speeches or overdosing on technical jargon. Wine should be fun.”
Jock’s childhood friend Lisa McGuigan would thoroughly approve. She describes her Tempus Two wines, with their pewter labels and curvy bottles, as a “fashion accessory”. “It’s a girl thing,” she says, “just like choosing what to wear to dinner. You pick your Prada handbag, but which wine will you take?”
Resort parties and designer labels are a world away from the blokey, grape-stained traditions of Australian winemaking, but Jock and Lisa know that better than most. Despite their 21st-century approach, both can trace their family history to the origins of Australian viticulture. The Tullochs first grew grapes in NSW’s Hunter Valley 113 years ago. The McGuigans have been there since the early 1900s, when Owen McGuigan laboured in vineyards metres away from where his great-granddaughter now stages concerts featuring Elton John and Jackson Browne at the Tempus Two winery’s 10,000-seat amphitheatre.
These two innovators belong to a small but influential “rat pack” of wine family heirs who are transforming winemaking with radical ideas and cutting-edge technology. Their names – Henschke, Tyrrell, Hardy, Seppelt, Scarborough and more – represent the founding fathers of the Australian wine industry. But their modern methods would have astounded those venerable ancestors.
Says Lisa McGuigan, who’s a youthful-looking 41, “If I had told my grandfather Perce all this he would have said, ‘Why don’t you think about a sewing career?’ It would have been an alien concept to him. It’s out there even for Mum and Dad’s generation.”
Jock Tulloch, whose dark-haired good looks and playful sense of humour made him much sought-after when he worked as a salesman for the family wines in Sydney, says, “My image of wine when I was growing up was old guys, a bit overweight, losing their hair. It wasn’t very sexy. But the newer generation are changing that. It’s a breath of fresh air.”
So far, their instincts have been proved right. Tempus Two, launched by McGuigan in 1998, won three wine-show awards for its very first batch and is now a 250,000-case international brand. Jock’s sales strategy has taken Tulloch wines into Asia for the first time, rapidly building new export markets in China, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines.
His auburn-haired twin sister, Christina, is general manager of the company. Daintily featured and charismatic, as an ex-PR executive she is fluent in the language of marketing. Instead of wielding oenological phrases, Christina speaks of branding, points of difference and premiumisation. “In my father’s day and the generation before him, the challenge in Australia was to make really good wine,” she says. “We all do that now, it’s a given. The challenge now is to find a place to sell your wine and still make money.”
Smart marketing, she says, is not just an interesting development; it’s a winemaker’s most urgent priority. “For a long time, Australia has had the monopoly on producing good-value, good-quality wines. Now the rest of the world has caught up. We can’t afford to be complacent anymore.”
While commerce is a preoccupation for this new generation, some of its youngest prefer to focus on the heart of the business – the wine itself. Down at the Eden Valley Henschke estate in South Australia’s Barossa Range, sixth-generation winemaker Johann Henschke is set on his career.
At 25, he has followed up a winemaking degree at the University of Adelaide by travelling to New Zealand, Italy and California, working the harvests at major wineries and honing his craft. He says he’s “bursting with inspiration” after arriving back to celebrate the family business’s 140th anniversary.
“Our generation is so lucky to have been able to travel,” says Johann, whose sister Justine – a 22-year-old actor who works part-time at the winery – shares his blue eyes and winning smile. “Compared to previous generations, we’ve had a lot more opportunities to visit some of the most intriguing wine regions in the world. It’s shaped our ideas and influenced us to take new directions.”
Johann speaks without pause of exciting alternative grape varieties, such as their plantings of tempranillo, graciano, nebbiolo and barbera. “We’ve also played around with a little gargenega,” he says. “Mum is always getting excited about clones; she can’t wait to get her hands on some gruner veltliner!”
While he rhapsodises about other upcoming trends, including more elegant, complex wines and glass bottle stoppers, he’s enveloped in his personal history. Just across the road is the family’s 19th-century Lutheran church. Inside, it carries portraits of the Henschke clan – generations carefully watching over their legacy.
Just a couple of kilometres away is their beloved Hill of Grace vineyard, home to shiraz vines called the “grandfathers”. These knotted veterans have been the soul of unforgettable reds since the 1860s and one of Johann’s earliest memories is stopping on the way home from school so his mum Prue, the company’s chief viticulturalist, could tend to her precious “old soldiers”.
Back in the Hunter Valley, Chris Tyrrell, also 25, is working as a winemaker on the same dirt floors his great-great-grandfather Edward Tyrrell built into the family’s winery in 1863. Tyrrell’s Wines has also celebrated a landmark birthday this year – it’s 150 years old. Like their friend Johann, Chris and his siblings – Jane, 28, the company’s sales manager, and their 26-year-old brother Johnny, who works across several areas in the winery – combine an appetite for innovation with a deep pride in their heritage.
“All the old wine families have produced these amazing characters. Whether it’s our grandfather Murray, or Wolf Blass or Brian McGuigan, you can only admire what they did for this country’s wine,” says Chris. “They took it to the world, told its story. Murray was a great trailblazer in varietals; he produced the first commercially available chardonnay in the country in 1971 when everyone said it would never work. He worked tirelessly in taking our wine to the public and overseas.”
Chris believes the rich past of wine dynasties could be the crucial key to their future success. “What I find exciting now, especially in winemaking techniques, is that what’s old is new again,” he says. “There’s a move back to single vineyard wines and a recognition that if you don’t get great fruit you’re not going to have a good product. Henschke’s Hill of Grace is a perfect example, and Tyrrell’s is also a company that has focused on picking the best vineyards and letting them speak for themselves, instead of making a generic style each year.”
He points out that Australian wine families’ vines are often older than those in France, many of which were wiped out by the phylloxera epidemic that obliterated European vineyards in the 19th century. The vines at Tyrrell’s, and some other old Australian vineyards, grew from original cuttings of those now-deceased vines. Says Chris, “A lot of our old vineyards are in family hands and there are young guys like me saying, ‘Hang on a second, my vineyards are twice as old as the French and my wines are better.’ The younger generation are standing up for that now.”
Chris has identified an irony which would have made his great-great-grandfather smile: despite all the technological advances of the modern world, the 200-year-old Australian wine industry is staking its fortunes on where it all began – in this country’s fickle, stubborn and sometimes surprisingly generous soil.
At Bindi Wine Growers, on the slopes of Victoria’s Mount Gisborne, second-generation winemaker Michael Dhillon considers land his family’s greatest asset. Although the property, 35 minutes from Melbourne, has been in his family since the 1850s, Michael’s father Bill only discovered its potential for vintage chardonnay and pinot noir in 1988.
“He’d wanted to plant vines back in the ’70s,” says Michael, 40. Later research revealed quartz in the soil – a key contributor to wine structure, texture and length. The result was a series of award-winning wines, which the Dhillons now export to 10 countries. “The quartz imparts the stamp of the site to the wine,” says Michael. “And now my children, the fourth generation to live on this property, will inherit that. It’s easy to have a piece of land that’s great for raising horses or breeding sheep, but it’s wonderful that this land is excellent for viticulture and the wine has the personality of the place.”
Land can sometimes be even more valuable than name. Just ask 26-year-old Bec Hardy, who belongs to the sixth generation of the South Australian Hardy wine dynasty. Bec, who studied at university alongside Johann Henschke, was 10 years old when the family company, including the Hardy name, was bought out by the international liquor behemoth Constellation Brands after the collapse of the State Bank of South Australia. The name Hardy then came to mean mass-market, export-orientated wines and, says Bec tactfully, “is thought of quite differently from when we were in control”.
Bec’s father Geoff didn’t let this setback prevent the family from making their signature quality wines. He established new vineyards on untested ground at Kuitpo, high in SA’s Mount Lofty ranges. Bec, her mum Fiona, brother Sebastian, 20, and sisters Jess, 22, and Hannah, 11, all went to work with him at the vineyard and the resulting flow of award-winning K1 shiraz proved the family’s instinct for good soil.
“I love the outdoors,” says Bec, who has just completed a Wine & Spirit Education Trust diploma in the UK and has inherited her parents’ blonde, blue-eyed, good looks. “Training vines is especially rewarding, because you’re there each week and you get to know each vine very well. Seeing the end product that comes from those vines is wonderful. It’s like something from a friend.”
While the Hardys have overcome past adversities, Christina Tulloch has seen the potential in hers for a compelling marketing story. The Tulloch company was also bought out by a large corporate company in 1969, and although Christina’s father Jay continued to work there, the family had no control until 2003, when the opportunity came to buy it back.
“We did, and that’s a story consumers love,” says Christina. “It’s about the underdog – a small family wine company comes good after years in the hands of the big guys. I don’t think my father ever expected to get the Tulloch name back, and we never expected it to do as well as it has done since then.” She adds, “People with the surname Tulloch working on the Tulloch business really makes the difference, rather than it just being part of a large corporate portfolio that can never love and care for it the way we do.”
For these old families, being absorbed into a giant company is an ever-present fear. Big business has already swallowed up established names such as Wolf Blass, Seppelt and Penfolds. Lisa McGuigan’s father Brian suffered a hostile takeover and lost his beloved Wyndham Estate in 1990, before rebuilding the family company as McGuigan Wines.
But such are the vagaries of the notoriously tough wine industry, and the new generation are more determined than ever to survive – no matter what is thrown at them. “One of the most important wisdoms my dad has passed on to me is to stay positive and optimistic,” says Bec Hardy. “As our history shows, there will always be good times and bad in this industry and you just have to be patient and work hard and wait for the good times to come again.”
Lately, senior wine generations have come to realise that inherited wisdom alone will not be enough to equip their successors to drive the wine industry’s future. They’re devising new ways to mentor young talent, and Christina Tulloch is one of the first to benefit; she’s a graduate of the Winemakers’ Federation’s future leaders program.
“The industry realised they have a problem with generational change,” says Christina. “Up to a couple of years ago if you went to any wine industry national organisation, it was all men, all over 50, even 60. And they realised, ‘We really need to start to get young people involved or all of this knowledge is going to be lost.'” The program grooms its participants to become involved in all aspects of the industry, she says. “They encourage you to get onto committees and boards that drive the industry and teach you how you deal with government and big issues like climate change and water.”
Now the kids who used to splash around in the Tyrrells’ pool in Pokolbin and play together in the dirt of neighbouring vineyards bump into each other on judging panels and in lobby groups. “It’s weird when you’re sitting on some committee with your friends’ fathers,” says Christina, “and you can see them looking at you thinking, ‘You should be a little girl, because how old does that make me?'”
Or perhaps they’re simply astonished that both the male and female faces of Australian winemaking have started to scrub up so well. Says Bec Hardy, “As a single girl, it’s a fantastic industry to work in. There are some great-looking guys – just look at Johann! The new generation of winemakers can’t get away with the steel caps, stained trousers and a faded KingGee shirt their father and grandfather would have spent their life in, because they have to travel out of the vineyard to meet the consumer.”
Christina Tulloch agrees. “Making great wine used to be enough. Now you need a strong brand with a personality behind it – and if you have a good-looking guy as well, that certainly won’t hurt, either.”
Taken from: Sydney Morning Herald