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Nothing is great unless it is good The Tyrrell family wine story

2008 marks the 150th anniversary of our family’s arrival in Pokolbin to commence its future in the Australian wine industry. 150 years of one family with a constant base and industry in which it operates is a rarity in the country. We Tyrrells have been on our vineyard for two thirds of Australia’s modern history. The motto of ‘nothing is great unless it is good’ came with my great grandfather from England and has been a guiding beacon for the family through the 150 years. It has been and will be the basis of all we do.

We have passed many milestones along the way, with the past 50 years contributing the most. The introduction of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to the modern Australian industry, our expansion outside our beloved Hunter Valley to Mclaren Vale, Limestone Coast and Heathcote, and the championing of the introduction Semillon variety from the Hunter are, to me, the outstanding achievements.

The Heathcote move will see us at the forefront of the development of what I believe will be the next great Shiraz area of Australia; one that will rival and then surpass the Barossa and Mclaren Vale.

Hunter Semillon has provided us with the rare opportunity to work with one of the truly unique wine styles of the world and I trust that in my lifetime it will be recognized worldwide for its great quality.

The continuation of Tyrrell’s Wines as a family business for another 150 years, at least, is my greatest dream. Family businesses always have a longer term view of the world, its operation and its people. It is from the family businesses that the innovation and leadership required by the wine industry, nationally and locally, will come. Wine is forever in our blood and in our dreams.

Pauline and I will probably not see the 200th anniversary of Tyrrell’s but the future of it will be in safe hands. Our three children Jane, John and Christopher, will have created their own part of our family’s history and tradition.

M. Bruce Tyrrell AM
Managing Director
Tyrrell’s Wines

Established in 1858 by English immigrant Edward Tyrrell, Tyrrell’s Wines is one of Australia’s pre-eminent family owned wine companies with vineyards extending from their historic home in the Hunter Valley to the Limestone Coast (SA) and Heathcote (VIC).

Headed up by fourth generation family member Bruce Tyrrell, Tyrrell’s is home to some of Australia’s most awarded wines including the iconic Vat 1 Semillon. Since 1971, Tyrrell’s has been awarded over 5,000 trophies and medals and in 2010 was named “Winery of the Year” in James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion.

With the fifth generation, Chris, Jane and John, involved in the business, Tyrrell’s will continue to remain family owned with the simple philosophy of producing high quality wine that people love to drink.


My great grandfather arrived in Pokolbin in 1858 and took up a concessional allotment of 320 acres. This marks the start of over 150 years of the Tyrrell’s being a constant in both the Hunter Valley and Australian wine industries. The motto he brought with him from England “nothing is great unless it is good”, remains as a guiding beacon of what we have been, what we are and what we will be in the future.

The past 50 years has been an era of growth and innovation. We have purchased, or leased many of the great vineyard blocks of the Hunter, introduced chardonnay and pinot noir to the modern Australian wine industry and have been lucky enough to work with Hunter semillon - one of the truly unique wines of the world. Hunter semillon has been the obsession of my generation and it is wonderful to now see international acceptance of the greatness and unique quality of this wine.

When I joined the business full time in 1974, we were a small winery with 95% of the business being at Cellar Door and having made about three export sales; one each to the USA, UK and Sweden. Today, we are a medium sized family business with vineyards in the Hunter Valley, Limestone Coast and Heathcote, and export to more than 50 countries around the world.

The two great developments of the last 20 years have been the selection of the land for our vineyard in Heathcote in Victoria; an area which, I believe, will join the front rank of great quality region in Australia. In the past four years, we have identified the six vineyard blocks that we have which are greater than 100 years old and when the quality was good enough, produced and bottled them as stand alone wines. These are amongst the rarest vineyards in the world.

It is the wish of the current generation that the family goes on for at least another 150 years. Without family business our economy would lack length of vision for the future and the long term commitment to quality and innovation.

We are proud to be a member of the Australia’s First Families of Wine as we all share the same long term vision of the Australian wine industry.

M. Bruce Tyrrell AM
Managing Director

Our Home

The Hunter Valley is one of Australia's premier wine growing regions and takes in an area of approximately 12,000 square kilometres. It is bordered by mountain ranges, all of which are part of the Hunter River system catchment. The upper Hunter (around Scone, Murrurundi and Merriwa) is undulating country while the lower Hunter (Maitland, Cessnock) is reasonably flat country, some of which lies in the flood plains of the Hunter, Paterson and Williams Rivers. Much of the economy in the Hunter region is based upon mining, light industry, steel production and agriculture.

Only a two hour drive north of Sydney, a car is recommended if you plan on exploring the Hunter Valley during your stay. Cessnock is the southern gateway to the Hunter Valley wine region. Pokolbin is located about six kilometres west of Cessnock and is the major centre in the region. With plenty of beautiful accommodation, restaurants and live entertainment, it is the perfect location for a weekend getaway.

Tyrrell’s Wines manage a large number of vineyards throughout the Hunter Valley in NSW, totaling just over 500 acres. The majority of the plantings are semillon and shiraz, for which the region is renowned. The winery is based in Pokolbin and is the home of Tyrrell’s Wines, with the original slab hut built in 1858 still standing. The Cellar Door is located at the same address and is open seven days a week with daily winery tours operating at 10.30am.

Our Vineyards

Building upon their inheritance of just 60 acres to 900 acres today, Tyrrell’s premium vineyards extend from their historic home in the Hunter Valley to other distinguished grape growing regions of Australia including Heathcote in Victoria and the Limestone Coast in South Australia.

Last edited on 8/1/2019 by srh

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