Celebrating South Australia


26 March 1870 Dr Christopher Penfold

 26 March 1870   Dr Christopher Penfold

Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold died after a long illness on 26 March 1870, at the age of 59, and was buried in St George's at Magill.

In June 1844 he and his wife, Mary, arrived in South Australia and moved to the property he had already purchased at Makgill (now Magill). He built a temporary construction and then the stone cottage known as the 'Grange', named after the family home in Lincolnshire.

Penfold planted vines from which he produced wines to treat his patients and Mary tended the wines and the garden while the Doctor did his rounds. In 1861 the Penfold's only child, Georgina, married Thomas Hyland and went to live in Castlemaine, Victoria, where Hyland promoted the Penfold wines. Sales were good and the vineyard at Magill was extended.

When Christopher died Mary determined to carry on with winemaking and formed a partnership with her son-in-law. In 1880 he moved to Melbourne to give all his time to the wine business. In 1881 Mary bought the vineyards and cellars of Joseph Gillard but handed over management to him. The reputation of Penfold's Wines continued to grow. 

Mary died in 1895 and her grandsons took the name Penfold-Hyland to perpetuate the memory of the respected doctor and his determined wife. While Penfold's went on to become one of the leading wine companies, with extensive vineyards and cellars in other areas, the 'Grange' vineyard has decreased in size. Much of it was subdivided for housing and only the cottage, buildings and a small portion of the vines remain as a reminder of Adelaide's early wine heritage. However, Grange Hermitage, first produced my winemaker Max Schubert in 1951, has been one of the most successful prize-winning Australian dry red wines, and perpetuates the name of the founders' home.

Penfolds became a public company in 1962 and is now one of the brand names in the Southcorp group.

Judith Brown, Country Life in Pioneer South Australia,  Rigby, 1977, pp. 125-134
Mike Potter, Wines and Wineries of South Australia, Rigby, 1978, p. 11.