Elderton was the name given to a vineyard that was first planted on the banks of the North Para River in Nuriootpa in 1894 by early German settlers, the Scholz family. In 1916, it was purchased by Samuel Elderton Tolley who built himself a sprawling homestead on the Estate and sold the fruit to his family’s winery. It was run successfully for many years, but became derelict in the early years of the vine pull (circa 1975).
“If you buy the house, I will give you the surrounding 72 acres of old vines for nothing”. This was the proposal offered to Lorraine and Neil Ashmead in 1979. The rambling old homestead looked ideal for a growing family and the Ashmead’s worked tirelessly to salvage and restore a phenomenal treasure of a vineyard.
In 1982 the first wine was made under the Elderton Label. Tough times prevailed, but ultimately the vision of the founders shone through and Elderton is today celebrated as a major reason for the rejuvenation of the Barossa. In 1993 Elderton shot to national prominence after winning the Jimmy Watson Trophy. International success ensued. The wines from Elderton’s estate vineyards are enjoyed globally for their richness, vibrancy and uniqueness. They are celebrated for being traditional examples of the best of the Barossa.
FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED
In 2022, the Ashmead family are celebrating 41 harvests from the estate vineyard in the township of Nuriootpa. From very humble beginnings, Neil and Lorraine Ashmead took a massive leap of faith to relocate their young family to the Barossa, and to rescue the derelict old vineyard on their property, which is now the envy of the world. This vineyard has plantings dating back to 1894 and continues to produce great fruit 41 vintages on.
The Ashmead family are very proud custodians of the original Elderton estate in Nuriootpa, which grows the fruit for icon wines: Command Shiraz and Ashmead Cabernet Sauvignon. In recent years the family have acquired other significant sites around the Barossa, to further showcase the diverse regionality that exists within the appellation. These vineyards are at Greenock, on the western ridge of the Barossa Valley, and Craneford, in the Eden Valley.
Elderton’s winemaking team works very closely with the vineyard team to produce quality fruit with a focus on long term sustainable production, low yields, low irrigation and minimal inputs.
The second generation of the Ashmead family are now at the helm - brothers Cameron and Allister, with their wives Jules and Rebecca. They believe very strongly in continuing the traditions that began a generation earlier, with a focus on a sustainable future and continuing to produce the most delicious wines possible.
Elderton is a certified member of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia. This is a voluntary program that requires Elderton to meet best practice standards for all elements of sustainability: environmental, economic and social. It is an exciting step to take and helps support and prove they are operating as best as they can to care for the vineyards and region for future generations.
Command Shiraz has established an enviable reputation since the first vintage in 1984. It is truly one of Australia’s best and most highly regarded icon wines and remains Elderton’s flagship wine. The Command grapes are from a single vineyard, planted in 1894, on the Nuriootpa vineyard. Command is truly an expression of place, and one of which the family intends to preserve for generations to come.
Elderton’s Cellar Door is truly a showpiece that matches the excellence of the wines that bear the Elderton and Ashmead family name. The original homestead that the first generation, Neil and Lorraine, fell in love with has been converted to be the full-time home for Elderton Wines. The Cellar Door is nestled in the Nuriootpa vineyard, allowing guests drive through the 1894 Command vineyard to find themselves at the homestead (built in 1918) that has been restored to its timeless and elegant best.
Enjoy a casual tasting looking out over our 1894 Command Vineyard, experience a wine and chocolate matching tasting, or indulge in a hosted tasting in one of Elderton’s private tasting rooms. You might even like a hit of tennis on the grass court!