Category Archives: Saltram Wines

Lesser Known Oldest Wineries of Barossa Valley – Saltram Wines


Wine-making is one of those businesses which are managed by families for generations. One of the foremost wine regions of Australia was that of Barossa Valley and one of the earliest wine-makers was William Salter. He had arrived as an immigrant from England in 1839 and bought the land in Barossa valley in 1844. Hence, began the journey of a winery which is going strong even now.

The first planting was of grapes for Shiraz wine in Australia was done in 1859 and wine was made in a facility under the shed. However, it was not until 1862 when the first vintage was brought to the market. The total volume of the first vintage was 8000 litres, which slowly grew to 182000 litres in 1891. William Salter, the pioneer, passed away in 1871 and his son Edward picked up from there. Besides Shiraz, he also planted Palomino grapes. The Saltram wines began to be sold in London when Edward entered into partnership with Thomas Hardy who agreed to buy all of his wine for 10 years. Charles and Lieslie, children of Edward, also began working with him but Charles left to start a new business of his own, leaving the field for Leslie to take over.

Leslie was a close friend of Martin, of the ‘Stoneywell’ fame. Martin bought a third of shares in Saltram and by 1941 it became a wholly owned subsidiary of Martin. In 1938, the winemaking business was put under the control of Ludlow who had an association with winery since 1917 and it continued till 1953. In 1954, Brian Dolan took over as Senior Winemaker  and quickly ascended the ranks to become GM of H.M. Martin and Son in 1959. Brian’s retirement in 1979 brought in the legendary Peter Lehmann at Saltram. He contributed to growing of cabernet sauvignon grape varietals. Lehmann stint was short lived as he left the same year to found his own wines business. After he had left, began the period of downturn which continued till 1992.

Things changed for the better again in 1993 when Niegel, son of Dolan took over. Ever since the winery has won many awards at regional and national level. Shavaughn Wells was appointed the Senior Winemaker in 2008. In 2009, Saltram celebrated the 150th anniversary with the release of Vintage Rare Tawny and the Journal Shiraz.