Francis d’Arenberg Osborn – better known and loved as d’Arry – died this morning at the age of 95.
d’Arry was much loved by family, friends and wine lovers the world over as a great raconteur, regaling all with humorous stories gathered over a lifetime.
Third generation vigneron d’Arry Osborn was a true statesman of Australian wine.
Born on the property on 27 December 1926 to Francis Ernest and Helena d’Arenberg Osborn, Francis d’Arenberg was given his mother’s name upon her death.
He started in his family winery at the tender of 16, at a time when Clydesdale horses did the work of a tractor and kerosene powered the motors and pumps.
With no winemaking education d’Arry learnt his trade on the job through trial, error and sourcing tips from neighbours.
One of his more unconventional methods was to wear dinner shirts in the winery during vintage, which in his words “give the reds more elegance”.
In 1958, d’Arry joined the Wine and Brandy Producers Association of South Australia, fulfilling roles as treasurer, vice president, president and was an honorary life member.
Over his lifetime d’Arry oversaw more than 70 consecutive vintages at d’Arenberg.
With the introduction of the famous ‘red stripe’ in 1959, d’Arry took d’Arenberg from bulk flagon production to an internationally recognised wine brand.
d’Arry’s wines of the 1960s gained cult status amongst imbibers and judges.
The 1968 Cabernet Sauvignon won the Jimmy Watson Trophy in 1969 and the 1967 Red Burgundy, a Grenache based wine went on to be awarded seven trophies and 29 gold medals at Australian capital city wine shows.
d’Arry received multiple prestigious honours including the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 1978.
In 1995 he was invested as a Patron of the Australian Wine Industry in, “Honour of an outstanding contribution to the affairs of the Australian Wine Industry”.
A Medal of the Order of Australia in the 2004 Queen’s Birthday Honours list followed, for his contribution to the wine industry and to the McLaren vale region.
WBM extends its condolences to Chester Osborn and family.