When Colin Gramp casts an eye across the memorabilia on display in his Tanunda home, he’s flooded with memories.
There’s plenty to look back on when you’ve clocked up 35,770 days (and counting).
“I’ll be 99 soon,” Colin says with a grin. “Not bad, huh?”
Among the treasures are photographs of his late father, winemaker Hugo Gramp.
The black and white image brings tears to his eyes.
Colin was just a teen when Hugo’s life was cut short in the Kyeema air disaster in 1938.
It was a devastating blow to the family, who came from impressive wine industry stock (Hugo’s father Johann Gramp planted his first Barossa vines in 1837 and went on to start G. Gramp & Sons – which later became Jacob’s Creek).
In among the family portraits are photographs of Colin in his Baron of Barossa garb.
He is the only surviving original Baron.
“I was the chancellor,” he says.
“We were very lucky that the sister-in-law to Sir Condor Laucke (Rose Laucke) was a very good seamstress and volunteered to make the tri-colour robes. The green represents the vine, the red is for the red grapes, and the gold is for the white grapes.”
Colin will never forget the first Barons of Barossa induction.
“It was in Seppelt’s old citrus factory. It was amazing how we did the place up. People were excited because they knew something was going to happen.”
The likes of George Kolarovich (Grand Master) and Wyndham Hill-Smith were inducted as part of the ceremony.
“They were all dabbed on the shoulder with a vine that I obtained from one of our very old vineyards.”
Fast-forward 45 years and Colin is watching The Barossa Cellar’s progress with keen interest.
“It was really an eye opener when I first saw it,” he says.
“It’s a fantastic idea to have wine selected from the Barossa and then put away for a while to age. I’m sure they will tickle many-a palate.”
He’s a particular fan of the location.
“It’s an ideal position. The view looking out over the valley is magnificent. They designed it according to the landscape and the view.”
Colin contributed to the wine collection, too.
“I donated some wine [Tokay] that I made when I was still running the Weinkeller Restaurant which is now St Hugo. It’ll be interesting to see what people say about the wine.”
• This article was first published in WBM – Australia’s Wine Business Magazine. The March/April issue contains a special feature on The Barossa Cellar. Subscribe here.
Photo: Mike Smith Pictures.