In the late 1830’s, the land was granted by the South Australian Government to the Fox family and has been in the Fox family until Frank and Judy Harrison purchased it in 1969. In 1971, they planted 30 acres of their 100 acre farm to Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon to convince the local council that they would responsibly dispose of the effluent from their proposed piggery. To their disappointment, the authorities did not approve the piggery and they were left with a 30 acre vineyard!
Frank and Judy moved to the city in 1979, selling their home and some of the land but leaving the vineyard, stone cottage and sheds intact on some 60 acres. For the next 18 years, the under managed and neglected vineyard produced minimum tonnage still delivering some of the best grapes in the region to wineries Wirra Wirra and later to Rosemount. In 1997, Sam Harrison and Rose Kentish leased and subsequently purchased the vineyard. Since then, Sam and Rose have improved the infrastructure to support their aim of producing exceptional quality wine. In 1998, they planted a further 14 acres of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon on the north facing hills. In 2002, they purchased 25 acres from their neighbour and are currently preparing this north-facing hill in readiness for a September planting of Shiraz and Merlot.
A low incidence of pests and diseases means ‘Ulithorne’ is managed without any pesticides and only organically registered sulphur and copper sprays to prevent fungal disease. They make their own compost for organic fertiliser and intend to design an under- vine ‘weed slasher’ so full conversion to organics can be achieved. Irrigation is only applied mid summer as a supplement so the vines do not over-stress.