Possibly the first to plant grapevines in the Stawell district was Louis Metzger who first planted vines at his Concongella vineyard 'St Louis Vineyard' in 1861.
He was followed in 1863, when half an acre was planted by Jean Trouette and his brother in law Emile Blampied at Great Western.
Little did Metzger, Trouette and Blampied know at the time, that they had started off the world-famous wine industry of Great Western. Trouette arrived in Great Western from Beechworth in 1858, after arriving in Australia in 1853 and on his arrival noted the resemblance of the district to that of his native Gers in France.
A year later the vineyard was increased to 4 acres, and by 1867 they had some 50,000 vines. They named their winery "St. Peters" and it was on the banks of the Concongella Creek.
The name of 'Best' has a particular significance in the history of Great Western and each of the 2 wineries, still remaining, were established by a 'Best' brother.
'Bests Concongella Vineyard' had its origin in 1866 when Henry Best planted his first vines. Mr Henry Best died in April 1913 and then his son, Charles, managed the business until it was sold to Mr Frederick P. Thomson in 1920.
He passed away in 1949 and control was handed to his son Mr Frederick H. (Eric) Thomson, who eventually handed control to his son Mr Viv Thomson. The estate is now under the control of the fourth generation Thomson family member - Mr Ben Thomson.
'Seppelts Great Western Vineyard' began its life in 1865 when Mr Joseph Best, a wholesale meat supplier, planted his first vines on his property. It was he who was responsible for building the network of world-famous underground "drives" which are carved out of decomposed granite. Joseph Best sold to Mr Hans Irvine in 1885.
Irvine travelled to France and brought out some French winemaking specialists and commenced the full-scale manufacture of sparkling wines. These men were headed by Mr Charles Peirlot, an expert in the manufacture of sparkling wine.
Eventually, Mr Irvine disposed of his business to B. Seppelt and Sons, who as early as 1918 were Australia's leading wine manufacturer.
In September 1893 there were 25 registered vignerons in Great Western with 600 acres being planted with vines. In the Rhymney district, there were 19 registered vignerons with 366 acres being under vines and in the Stawell District [within 20 miles], there were 25 Vignerons with 337 acres under vines.
In the Stawell District, Jochen Popp established the 'Stawell Vineyard Company' at Watta Wella in 1884.
By 1890, he had planted 230 acres with 74,000 vines. Pietro Gambetta established 'St Bernards Vineyard' on Marnoo Road with 25 acres of vines. Also in the district were the 'Urquharts' at Concongella along with Paolo Ronchi's 'Lombardy Vineyard'.
Some of the many more names mentioned as owning vineyards in the district were; Edward Amiss, William Elder, Peter Gorrie, David Constable, John Sargentson, Pietro Scalletti, Clifford Sherriff and Samuel Rutter.
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