Rosemount Estate

Rosemount Estate could be judged by its premier wines, the Roxburgh Chardonnay, Balmoral Syrah, Mountain Blue Shiraz Cabernet, or its Show Reserve series, but the Oatley family, who owns the company, and its head winemaker Philip Shaw prefer as a yardstick the Diamond Series wines, especially the Chardonnay and Shiraz, and its very affordable early-drinking reds like the Shiraz/ Cabernet and Shiraz/Grenache.

Rosemount Estate remains a family company, headed by founder Bob's son Sandy and son-in-law Keith Lambert. The Oatleys have invested more than A$100 million (US$61 million) in recent years and have rejected offers to sell out for around A$200 million (US$122 million). The company has more than doubled production in the last three years to around three million cases. Sales in the USA and Europe account for more than 60 percent of production, while domestic Australian sales are climbing at a rate of more than 20 percent per year. Annual sales are close to A$200 million (US$122 million).

A new state-of-the-art winery has been constructed adjacent to the original one in Denman, New South Wales. The company's vineyard assets of more than 4,000 acres (1,600 ha) reflect a mature approach to the matching of variety with region. Around 50 to 60 percent of Rosemount's production is still supplied by contracted growers. Instead of developing a range of regional brands encompassing all of the major red and white varieties, Rosemount has concentrated on making a large number of possible regional and varietal combinations in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.

The Upper Hunter remains a major source of Rosemount's premier chardonnay and semillon, while the cooler volcanic slopes of Mount Canobolas near Orange are yielding flinty, refined chardonnay, some rather leafy cabernet sauvignon and very promising cabernet franc. In South Australia, Rosemount has a new red wine vineyard at Coonawarra, but has most closely linked its fate with shiraz from McLaren Vale. Sourced from a number of old vine vineyards, Balmoral is one of Australia's leading shiraz. Much of the material for the Diamond Label reds comes from Langhorne Creek, while Adelaide Hills is an important source of Rosemount's cool-climate sauvignon blanc and chardonnay. At Mudgee in New South Wales, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and merlot are grown for the Mountain Blue and Hill of Gold wines, and the red Italian varieties could play a significant future role. Rosemount also has a largely red wine vineyard at Langhorne Creek and purchases as fruit a small amount of Clare Valley riesling and Yarra Valley chardonnay.


Bob Oatley planted 50 acres (20 ha) of shiraz and gewuerztraminer at Denman in 1968. The company's first vintage, in 1974, yielded limited quantities of hermitage (shiraz) and rhine riesling. The next year, Rosemount added cabernet sauvignon, cabernet shiraz and traminer. By combining wise vineyard purchases with development of its own vineyards, Rosemount quickly acquired substantial holdings in the Upper Hunter Valley.

Although its first multiple award-winning wines were rhine rieslings and traminers, made from Hunter Valley fruit, Rosemount was only just behind Tyrrell's in pioneering chardonnay, making its first in 1979. The 1980 Show Chardonnay took a double gold medal at Bristol. Winemaker Philip Shaw made Rosemount's first Roxburgh Chardonnay in 1983, creating a lineage of flagship wines. The purchase of Ryecroft Vineyards in 1991 firmed up Rosemount's fruit supply in McLaren Vale. In 1999 a new and technically advanced winery was completed adjacent to the old.

Rosemount's greatest strength lies in the character and commitment of its owners and their employees. It's well and profitably managed, well resourced and directed, and has a clear plan for ongoing expansion without the need to raise public capital. Its other great strength is the quality of wine across its portfolio.

Key Wines

Rosemount's flagship wines are Balmoral Syrah, Mountain Blue Shiraz Cabernet and Roxburgh Chardonnay. The Show Shiraz is a sumptuously wooded McLaren Vale. From the same region, the GSM and Traditional present modern Australian expressions of red rhone varieties and older-styled cabernet blends, respectively. The Show Cabernet Sauvignon, is one of the region's most underrated.

Its Show Semillion is barrel fermented and matured like a chardonnay, while the Orange Vineyard Chardonnay presents a reserved expression of clear, bright fruit flavors with lingering mineral acids. Other chardonnays are the reserved, peachy and minerally Giant's Creek Chardonnay and the savory and long-living Show Reserve Chardonnay, both from Upper Hunter fruit. The popular and affordable Diamond Label Chardonnay still offers more interest and complexity than most of its competitors. Its Diamond Label reds have proven immensely popular in overseas markets like the USA.

Rosemount's owners don't see any reason to sell out and can't see the point in going public. One can expect Rosemount to continue to grow and gradually add more combinations of region and variety to its top end, especially with cool-climate pinot noir from Victoria and shiraz from Victoria's new Heathcote region.

From "Encyclopedia of Wine"
Global Book Publishing Pty Limited 2000