First planted in 1971 to dry-farmed Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, Hickinbotham Vineyard is situated on the high elevation hills of Clarendon, a subregion along the northern edge of McLaren Vale in South Australia. The vineyard historically produced fruit for many of Australia’s most iconic producers but was not bottled under its own label until 2012. Led by winemakers Christopher Carpenter and Peter Fraser – and viticulturer Michael Lane – Hickinbotham Vineyard continues its nearly 50-year legacy.
The first vines at the Hickinbotham Vineyard were planted in 1971 by Alan David Hickinbotham, son of Australia’s first wine science lecturer at the famous Roseworthy Agricultural College, Alan Robb Hickinbotham. This 186-hectare property of rolling hillsides remained under Hickinbotham family ownership for more than 40 years until it was purchased by the Jackson family in 2012. The vineyard has been farmed according to organic and biodynamic practices since 2019.
The pedigree of the Hickinbotham Vineyard has long been established but, until the change of ownership in 2012, grapes from the 85-hectares of vines were only ever sold to an esteemed list of winemakers. With wineries including Penfolds, Clarendon Hills and Hardys, grapes were credited to flagship wines like Penfolds Grange and Eileen Hardy Shiraz. It was only Clarendon Hills that released vineyard-designate wines bearing the “Hickinbotham” name.
The first four wines to bear the Hickinbotham Vineyard label were produced from the 2012 vintage: Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and a Cabernet Shiraz blend. These parcels were selected from the oldest terraced plantings which trace the contours of the undulating, hillside terrain and continue to provide a rich tapestry of qualities from which the wines are crafted each year.
The character of the Hickinbotham Vineyard is profound and produces famously resilient wines with highly expressive character. The breathtaking views from the top of the site down over the vines towards the Onkaparinga Gorge command ancient ground that is the key to the innate power this site produces. The cooling breezes funnel through from the hills above and the coast below and lend a desirable freshness to the wines.