A long and proud heritage in the Clare Valley.
Crabtree Watervale Wines
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
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.
The current owners of Crabtree,
Richard Cane and Jason Cane come from two very different worlds. Richard is
originally a broad acre farmer on Yorke Peninsula with a more recent 30 year business
background in the computing industry, while Jason won a scholarship to study
and train at the world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu
Hotel Management school. After his graduation he worked extensively in the
hospitality industry and later became a Sommelier, working in some of the most
respected restaurants in Australia.
The original homestead
and a photo from the original orchards.