Skip to main content
Margaret RiverNewsObituary

RIP Dr John Gladstones

By Monday 27 May 2024No Comments

Dr John Gladstones AM – known as the Godfather of the Margaret River wine industry – has died.

He was 92 years old.

In 1965 he identified the Margaret River as a suitable place to grow winegrapes.

Back then he wrote: “Being virtually frost-free, and having a much lower ripening period, cloudiness, rainfall and hail risk than Manjimup and Mount Barker, it has distinct advantages over both those areas, and indeed over all other Australian wine districts with comparable temperature summations.

“Not only should excellent quality be obtainable with choice grape varieties, but the district might also be very suitable because of its equable climate for higher-yielding, but still good quality varieties, such as Shiraz and Semillon.”

Vasse Felix planted vines in 1967 followed by Moss Wood in 1969, Cape Mentelle in 1970, Cullen in 1971, Sandalford in 1972 and Leeuwin Estate, Woodlands and Writes in 1973.

Now there are about 200 wine producers in Margaret River.

James Halliday wrote in his book, The Australian Wine Encyclopedia, “Dr John Gladstones is, in the view of many, Australia’s foremost viticultural research scientist, even though his professional background was in lupins, and he has not chosen to become a viticultural consultant for individuals.

“His book, Viticulture and Environment, is the most detailed and comprehensive study of the climate and soil of Australia either presently or prospectively planted with vines.”

In 2022 Dr Gladstones was made an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the primary industry, particularly agriculture and viticulture.

He was awarded the Cullen Award for Excellence in 2017.



Leave a Reply