About Oxenberry Farm
McLaren Vale has its roots from Oxenberry Farm; it was here in 1840 in this picturesque green lush valley where Devonshire farmers William Colton and Charles Hewett set up with their respective families to start new lives in Australia. They landed in Adelaide from England late in 1839 and soon made the trek to the Southern Vales and chose a location near a freshwater spring and built their homes on adjoining parcels of land that had been only been surveyed by John McLaren the year before. The soil was rich and ideal for cattle and livestock and all manner of gardens and crops could be cultivated. Hewett named his property ‘Oxenberry Farm’ and Colton opted for ‘Lower Oxenberry Farm’. Their pioneering spirit, blood, sweat and tears laid the foundations for what has become one of the great wine regions of Australia.
Early McLaren Vale postcard - image courtesy of Willunga National Trust
One hundred and twenty years later Michael and Filippo Scarpantoni were born in McLaren Vale and raised on part of the original Oxenberry Farm site. The creeks and massive gum trees were a wonderland for two young boys to explore and it held many wonderful memories. Over the decades, parts of the original farm were broken up to become smaller properties, and in 1998 the Scarpantoni brothers were fortunate enough to be able to purchase a different section of Oxenberry Farm to where they had been raised. This section incorporated what was formally known as Lower Oxenberry Farm on which the historic house ‘Daringa’ that William Colton built in 1840 still survives, located just behind the Oxenberry Farm cellar door and winery.
William Colton’s house ‘Daringa’ built in 1840
Oxenberry wines represent the combined experience of over 120 years in viticulture, winemaking and geographical knowledge of the Scarpantoni family. The red wines in particular highlight the strengths of certain varieties in differing McLaren Vale geographical locations, and careful consideration has been made to make the best suited varieties of the region into their optimum style of wines rather than trying to make popular varieties into popular styles. To this end the wines will most always be mixed varieties and very limited in production.
Oxenberry winemakers Michael & Fil Scarpantoni with the highly prized Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy won by their 2006 Scarpantoni Brothers Block Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Oxenberry range of wines will always be different to that of the Scarpantoni Estate wines which Michael and Filippo has become known for over the past 30 years, though certain parcels of fruit from the Scarpantoni Estate vineyards may be used to create the Oxenberry range. Oxenberry wines are a reflection of Michael and Fil’s experience in recognising and understanding ‘terroir’; different vineyards sites that contribute their own unique and distinct characteristics to the wines and their suitability to create wines of a certain style and quality.
Also now open is the Oxenberry Farm Cafe, serving coffee, cakes, treats and light meals.