d’Arry Osborn Receives WCA Legend Of The Vine Award
…joining a prestigious group including James Halliday, and becomes a life member of WCA.
2016 has truly been a year of achievement for d’Arry. He nailed his first ever fist bump back in July and now he has been named the 2016 South Australian Legend of the Vine by Wine Communicators of Australia. This award was created to recognise an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the Australian wine industry. Currently aged 89, third generation vigneron and still the Managing Director of d’Arenberg, there’s no doubt that d’Arry is truly legendary.
d’Arry has only ever known life working in the family winery. His grandfather purchased the d'Arenberg property in 1912, his father built the winery in 1927, and in 1943 at the tender age of 16, d’Arry left school to help his father on the land, making fortified wine for export to England. At a time where Clydesdale horses did the work of a tractor and steam powered the pumps, d’Arry learnt his trade on the job, through trial, error, and sourcing tips from neighbours. One of his more unconventional methods was to wear dinner shirts in the winery during vintage, to, in his words “give the reds more elegance.”
Upon his father’s death in 1957, d’Arry assumed full control of the business, and in 1959 launched his own wine label named in honour of his mother, Helena d'Arenberg, who died shortly after giving birth to him. It was d’Arry’s decision to put the now famous red stripe on the label, inspired by happy memories of his school days at Prince Alfred College, where he wore a crimson-and-white striped tie. Today that red stripe proudly adorns each d'Arenberg bottle, and is exported to over 60 countries.
Throughout his lifetime d’Arry’s ongoing commitment to the wine industry is obvious, joining the Wine and Brandy Producers Association of South Australia in 1958, holding the position of treasurer, vice president and president, and is now an honorary life member. For 28 years he was a Councillor on the South Australian Chamber of Commerce, Foundation member and Chair of the McLaren Vale Wine Bushing Festival and Chair of the McLaren Vale Winemakers Association.
In 1978 d’Arry was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, and in 1995 invested as a Patron of the Australian Wine Industry. Since then he has received a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queens’ Birthday honours of 2004, and the Business SA’s Industry Champions Award in 2014.
Of d’Arry, wine writer James Halliday once wrote “It is hard to imagine a more honest, gentle and open man or one who is more passionately devoted to maintaining the integrity of the wine industry in general and McLaren Vale in particular.” The addition of another accolade to an already extensive list will not inflate the ego of this humble vigneron. Committed as ever to the family business, he collects the mail and does the banking daily. If he’s not having a cup of tea at his desk or reading emails on his iPad, he’s likely to be mowing his beloved lawns at cellar door, or consumed by his other great love, fishing for bream in the Onkaparinga River.