Crabtree Watervale Wines
– A long and proud heritage in the Clare Valley.
The house that makes up the cellar door dates back to when the Clare Valley was first settled, and has been the home of a number of local identities over the years. Adolf Glaetzer was one of these residents, known best in the Clare Valley for his fresh fruit and vegetables rather than winemaking, though his descendants have made the Glaetzer name synonymous with Australian winemaking. Robert Crabtree purchased the house from the Glaetzer family, it is heritage listed, the oldest sections date back to 1849.
The Crabtree site has been planted to vineyards for well over 100 years, with the first vines being planted in the 1880s, though none of these original plantings exist today. The Glaetzer family were largely responsible for the planting of the vineyards as they are today, with the remainder being largely Robert Crabtree’s more recent plantings of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, and a little more Riesling.
The estate today known as Crabtree Watervale Wines was originally founded in 1849 and was originally named “Pomona”. A well respected orchard during the late 1800’s growing apples, plums, pears and currants. It may have been partially replanted to vines for wine production when the property was purchased by Watervale vigneron, Valentin Mayr in 1888, but this is pure speculation given a photo from the early 1900’s clearly shows the homestead surrounded by orchards on the east facing slopes.
Certainly there were vines planted from the 1930’s, after the Glaetzer family purchased the property. Renaming the estate “Fairview”, surviving vines from the 1940’s still provide premium fruit for Crabtree estate wines today.
English born Robert Crabtree purchased the property in 1984 and built a small modern winery, He reconditioned the historic listed homestead and upgraded much of the vineyard. Robert’s vision was to develop a wine business modeled on the famous French Burgundy estates that are renown for their home grown wines that truly reflect the site the vines are grown.
In 2007, Robert looked to take time out from his 25 year endeavor and sold the property. Robert remains a shareholder.
Thankyou to local historian, David Spackman of Watervale, for providing details of landowners in the Pomona story.