Australia’s first great winemaker was a Frenchman. He walked onto a hillside vineyard in the Hunter Valley north-west of Sydney in the early 1920s – fresh from study at Montpellier – and in a hot, soggy climate worked to craft a set of wines that, when finally opened as forty and fifty and sixty-year-olds, could make people gasp. He made these wines without electricity, without any kind of personal or professional convenience, and with a broken heart. It makes no sense that these wines should prove so good; what he managed was a miracle. He died without knowing of the legend he and his wines would become.
This is the story of Maurice O’Shea, creator of Australia’s first fine wines.