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Tintara is a winery of two worlds. A living treasure house of tradition on one hand, a testimony to new age winemaking on the other. The winery is set in McLaren Vale, a town on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula. Nestled between the Gulf of St Vincent and the Mt Lofty Ranges. The result is distinctly Mediterranean.
Founded in 1861 by one of the pioneers of the South Australian wine industry - Dr. Alexander Kelly - 'Tintara' has been central to the McLaren Vale region for over 140 years.
Born in Dunbar, Scotland in 1811, Alexander Kelly became a ships surgeon with the East India Company, arriving in Adelaide in 1840 where he was appointed Assistant Surgeon at the Adelaide Hospital. In 1843 he bought a block of land and set about planting his first vineyard in Morphett Vale, where he produced burgundy style reds, not only to drink but also to treat his patients!
In 1861 he published the seminal book ‘The Vine in Australia’ drawing on his and others’ experience in establishing vineyards in this hostile climate. It was in this same year that he purchased a property named Tintara in McLaren Vale.
Dr Alexander Kelly was presented with quite a challenge in taming the rugged, steep slopes of his McLaren Vale property to plant his vineyard, finally deciding to match the contours of the land, in terraced vineyard rows. In 1863, the first incarnation of the Tintara Cellars was born when Dr. Kelly built his cellars dug right into the hillside with fermentation tanks fabricated from slate quarried locally by Cornish miners.
Dr. Kelly’s plantings took place at a turning point in the history of McLaren Vale though, when the local flour mills and wheat fields were deserted and the barren ground was left to the vines. It was at this pivotal time that Thomas Hardy acquired the Tintara vineyards and brand from Dr. Kelly, sensing the great potential the region presented for quality wines.
And when the Mortlock Flour Mill fell idle on the Main Road of McLaren Vale, Thomas quickly bought and converted it to the Mill Cellars. The original cellar at "Tintara" was closed down in 1926 and winemaking, along with the name transferred to this converted winery.
Today, it is these same cellars that house the Tintara winery, continuing the great tradition of premium wines from the region.
In 1912 Thomas Hardy passed away, but his memory is honoured by a memorial erected by the townspeople of McLaren Vale in gratitude for his services to the district and to the wine industry