In 1985 the Australian wine industry was in a dark place. All over Australia, vineyards were being burned and bulldozed with particularly old Shiraz and Riesling vines being pulled up. It was exactly at this time that Peter and Mark Barry, with the support of their father, Jim, set about with the aim to create a great Australian Shiraz from Clare – A defining wine of the region.
Jim, always encouraged them to go their own way and not to worry about following the herd, “create your own path” he would tell them. This is exactly what they did. At a time when the rest of Australia was making Cabernet blends, the Barry’s set out to make a Shiraz that could last for thirty years. Jim planted a Shiraz vineyard on shallow gravel sands near the little village of Armagh in 1968. These 8 acres needed to be hand watered during the severe drought of 1969, with Jim advising his young sons to only water the plants without any green foliage as the green ones would survive. And so they did, surviving to be pruned and then nurtured over subsequent decades.
In 1985, the Barry boys chose the purple grapes from the now gnarly old vines which right from the start created a wine of the soil, from a special vineyard. In 1985, they purchased 6 beautiful American hogshead barrels which were worth more than the grapes themselves, and they tucked the wine away in these to age gracefully and The Armagh was born. A tribute to the Irish who settled in 1849; to the hard working Barry’s and to a very special vineyard. This is the spirit of Armagh.