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Just inside Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre in the Barossa Valley, opposite the vast range of Jacob's Creek wines and artfully positioned along the impressive timber beams, is the story in words and pictures of one of Australia's most famous wine brands. It is a story of triumph and tragedy and a legacy that lives on through the people, the wine, the winding creek and the ironstone walls of the original winery, now the home of Jacob's Creek's premium wine brand, St Hugo Wines, named in honour of the late Hugo Gramp.
Born on 19 September 1895 in the Barossa Valley, Hugo Gramp lived and worked his entire life in this world-renowned wine region. Hugo’s grandfather, Johann Gramp, was one of the wine pioneers of the Barossa Valley, planting his first vines in 1847, and starting the wine business that would be later called G Gramp & Sons by Hugo's father Gustav, and that Hugo would one day lead. This business would later become Jacob's Creek.
Hugo Gramp's passion, perserverence and appreciation for fine wine stood him in good stead for managing the family business. He joined his father at a young age and proved himself to be a worthy prodigy. At just 25 years of age, Hugo was appointed Managing Director of Gramp & Sons. From 1920 to 1938, he led the winery through a period of unparalleled growth, driven by his inspiring vision of success and his endless pursuit of excellence.
There is always a sharp intake of breath as visitors absorb the events that feature on the timeline on 25th October 1938. Hugo Gramp was flying from Adelaide to Melbourne with two other prominent wine industry members, Thomas Hardy and Sidney Hill Smith, when tragedy struck. The Kyeema plane they were travelling on encountered heavy cloud on its approach into Essendon Airport and crashed into Mount Dandenong, instantly taking the lives of all 18 people on board. Hugo's son, Colin Gramp, was 17 and at boarding school in Adelaide when he heard that his father, winemaker Hugo Gramp, had been killed. Since then Colin has worked tirelessly to preserve and honour his father's legacy.
1983 saw the release of the first wine named ‘St Hugo’. The addition of the title ‘St’ was inspired by the European tradition of naming vineyards after saints in order to bestow good fortune upon them. Crafted from the outstanding 1980 vintage, the first St Hugo Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon was much praised for its power and elegance, much like its namesake. Today, more than 30 vintages on, St Hugo continues to set the benchmark for excellence in Australian Cabernet Sauvignon.
For an indepth exploration of the history of Jacob's Creek, the Behind the Scenes of Jacob's Creek tour offers access to the secrets and stories of this national treasure - the tour begins with a visit to the famous Steingarten Vineyard where you can enjoy spectacular views of the Barossa, while sipping on a glass of Steingarten Riesling. Next, take a tour of the homestead of the Gramp family, a private food and wine master class and lunch at Our Table. The afternoon will be spent at Jacob’s Estate wandering through the Kitchen Garden, observing the Jacob Family’s original homestead.
Take a short stroll from the Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre, past the famous creek, William Jacob's original cottage, and the abundant Kitchen Garden to the St Hugo home. The beautifully restored ironstone building, featuring an underground tasting room, fine-dining restaurant and a luxurious lounge was designed in collaboration with Colin Gramp, in memory of his father. Hugo first purchased this historic winery from the Jacob family in 1918.
Learn more about the fascinating history of this esteemed wine brand on the St Hugo Past, Present & Future experience, an exclusive guided wine tasting, where you will be lead through back, current and 'future' (as yet unreleased) vintages of St Hugo wines. Tour the vineyard, admire the unique cork trees and try your hand at extracting wine direct from the barrel. Complete your experience with a four-course degustation lunch, matched to St Hugo wines in the award-winning restaurant.