The work so far...
It has always been our goal to return this beautiful property to its productive, bustling best - and we invite you to come along for the journey!
When James purchased 224 Krondorf Road in 2002, it had sat empty for over 40 years and was in need of an almost super-human restoration effort.
The enormous, round roofed barn was packed to the rafters with ancient hay covering all manner of treasures. The smokehouse was falling down and its grand old chimney teetering at a precarious angle. There were ancient stone buildings everywhere you looked - all of them in need of new roofs, and serious repair to walls, lintels and windows frames. Fencing was in (very) short supply and generally more ground-based than upright and of course there wasn't a grape vine to be seen on this ex-sheep grazing property.
Fortunately there are few individuals who possess James' capacity for sheer hard work. He set about bringing this property back to life with single-minded determination and unwavering commitment, and in the past fifteen years we've achieved a fantastic amount together.
In restoring this beautiful old property, we've been guided by a deep love for the Barossa and a willingness to learn the lessons of the past. With an enduring passion for the history of this region, we always have an ear out for information or stories about not just Krondorf but the Barossa more broadly (as an aside, if you're interested in learning more about the history of the Barossa, check out our Heritage Walking Tours which operate every Sunday morning).
We know that this property used to be the butchery that served the villages of Krondorf and Bethany - the little stone building which is now our cellar door was once the smoke house. In addition, the dairy, enormous, curved roof barn and workman's quarters are all still here on the property, along with the remains of the piggery and stock yards. Typical of mixed farms of the time, there was also an orchard, vegetable plots and hay production. Our family enjoys an embarrassment of riches every year from the 140 year old mulberry tree that stands at our front door step.
Like this beautiful tree, much evidence of the property's busy past survives. Few pieces on this property are as evocative as the ramshackle horse drawn cart once used to deliver the week's meat order to families across the region. When you prise the rusted old pin from its cleft, down folds the back wall of the cart which doubles as the cutting board. Run your fingers across the pale wood and you can feel the waxy, fatty residue left by thousands of lengths of mettwurst, cut to order on the road in front of countless homes across the region and under the watchful eyes of generations of haus fraus, while the horses stamped and snorted patiently. Along with the cart are our treasured leather bound notebooks, discovered during recent restoration work tucked neatly into a ceiling cavity. They date back to 1919 and in perfect lead pencil cursive, keep meticulous track of orders, deliveries and payments ("Tuesday: 3lbs pork sausages; Mrs Hermann; paid").
Some pieces of machinery have found new lives elsewhere, most notably the 1912 petrol-driven Kaesler engine which previously drove the property's chaff cutter. It now lives just down the road at Rockford Wines where it sits at the centre of their winery, lovingly tended by Malcolm Kraft and firing into life every vintage to drive their similarly ancient grape de-stemmer. If you've ever stood in the courtyard at Rockford during vintage (an experience we thoroughly recommend) you'll hear the steady put-putting of the old engine, still going strong after over a hundred years.
To the future!
We have big plans for this little corner of the world and we invite you to follow along with us.
Planting the vineyards and establishing our winery and Cellar Door are the next steps in the life of this property, and have allowed us to open it up to visitors in a way that hasn't been possible in the past. We invite you to visit us for a wine tasting in our Cellar Door, join us for a Heritage Walking Tour through the village of Krondorf or follow along through the wonders of the internet - join our mailing list or follow us on instagram.