Bon Voyage

12th General Exhibition Medal, 1882

Vigneron George Francis first planted black Isabella grapes at his Douglas Vale vineyard at Port Macquarie in 1862. The harvesting of the first vintage took place in March 1867, producing 750 gallons of wine. George trod the grapes himself. By the 1880s, Douglas Vale had become one of the major vineyards in the Hastings Valley.

George was amongst a large number of colonial wine makers to send their wines to France for the 12th General Exhibition held at Bordeaux in June 1882. His first consignment of 2 dozen bottles and a quarter-cask was shipped on the P and O Steam Navigation Company’s SS Assam on 8 March. On that voyage, the ends of all the casks were covered with plaster of Paris to ensure the soundness of the wines on their arrival at Bordeaux. His second consignment of 2 dozen bottles of Isabella wine followed later that same month on the SS Shannon.

New South Wales wine exhibitors took out 5 first prizes, 9 second, 11 third, and 2 honorable mentions at Bordeaux. George Francis received a Bronze medal for his Isabella wine known as Portabella.


What type of grape is Douglas Vale famous for?

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