Looking for new opportunities, Richard Bailey and his sons Samuel and John Bailey left Yorkshire, England, and travelled to Liverpool looking for a berth to Australia. Within 3 months they arrived in Port Phillip Bay, aboard the ‘John Barbour.’
Sarah Bailey, (née Varley), Richard’s wife also made the long journey with her 5 other children Emma, Sarah, Mary, Ann and the youngest, Varley Bailey. They had made the terrifying journey unassisted aboard the ‘Jessie Munn’ arriving in Australia in 1859. Reunited with his family, Richard worked as a carrier in Brunswick, transporting bricks and bluestone to sites around Melbourne using horses and drays.
A Land Act had opened up in countryside Victoria. Richard and his children (a teenage Varley and Emma, along with her husband, John Sadler), venture north to Glenrowan.
Varley Bailey applies for leases on two Land lots in the parish of Glenrowan. His father Richard and his sister Emma also select neighbouring properties to build their farms on.
1870 is the birth of the Baileys Bundarra Vineyard and Winery. The Bailey family ran a farm, and Varley planted his vineyard. As soon as Varley had enough grapes, he began to sell fortified wines to the locals.
Varley’s property was named ‘Bundarra’, an aboriginal term meaning ‘Meeting of the Hills’ which is understandable given ‘Baileys Bundarra’ is located at the Taminick gap, where the hills meet allowing a road to pass through the Warby ranges.
Varley marries Isabella Harrison and they have 7 children; Varley Jnr, Richard, Jim, John, Alfred, Clarence and Sarah.
Gradually Varley accumulates more property and an allotment in the Glenrowan Township. This is where he opened a general store.
The region suffered from a devastating outbreak of phylloxera, a soil borne aphid that feeds on vine roots. The aphid finds its way to Glenrowan. Many winemakers were ordered to destroy their vineyards.
Undeterred, after the vignerons ‘Black Plague’, Varley replanted the vineyard with phylloxera resistant rootstock. Soon after, the Baileys famous wines flow again. The original 1904 Shiraz Block continues to produce outstanding wines today.
Varley leases the farm Bundarra, now 810 acres, including 100 acres under vine, to his sons Jim and Alf. However, this is on the proviso that they maintain and improve the vineyard, which they do.
Jim and Alf officially name the winery Bailey Bros.
Jim Bailey marries Annie Lindsay, they have 6 children; Allan, Mavis, Alfred (who sadly dies at birth), Clarise and James Roland (Roley).
Alfred, returned from war, marries Ethel McGregor.
The Baileys Shiraz area under vine is expanded with additional Shiraz planted in what we now call our 1920s Block Shiraz. Full of flavour, the Red Stripe Hermitage quickly built a reputation and loyal following. Further plantings of Muscat and Muscadelle (used in the Topaque) took place.
The 1920s Blocks still produce wines today, notably the flagship 1920s Block Shiraz, and often contributes towards our flagship Varley Shiraz.
Jim's sons James Roland (Roley) Bailey and Allan Bailey joined their father in the running of the property, winery and vineyard.
Alfred Bailey moves to Brunswick and establishes an export business to export the highly prized Baileys red wines and Ports.
Jim retires and leaves Bundarra to his two sons. Allan becomes responsible for the winery and Roley takes care of the farm. Allan was renowned for producing the first Baileys Muscat and big flavoured reds, that were widely celebrated. He made wine like nobody else.
As family management could no longer continue, Allan and Roley Bailey agree to sell the winery to Davis Consolidated Industries. Harry J Tinson is appointed the manager. Although the Bailey Bros changed ownership, the famous Baileys wine remains the same
A new purpose-built winery is commissioned. The original Victor Coq 100 year old basket press was restored. Today all the 1920s & 1904 Block wines are pressed with the original basket press.
Baileys of Glenrowan Bundarra Vineyard becomes fully certified organic and in vintage 2012 we produced our first fully certified organic Shiraz.
Baileys of Glenrowan is purchased by Casella Family Brands and returned to family ownership.
The 2019 vintage Baileys entire table wine range is now estate grown, produced, labelled and bottled as fully certified organic which marks a major step forward in our return to organic production.
Now 150 years old, Baileys of Glenrowan is a boutique, certified organic winery that showcases the heritage of the winery and combines traditional techniques with modern winemaking. With access to some of Victoria’s oldest dry grown vines, we intend to cherish the history and integrity of Baileys for another 150 years
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