From shipwreck to vineyard, the Vandenberg family has been defined by their strength and determination against a harsh and unforgiving land
This spirit lives on in every drop of Vandenberg wine.
If there’s anything the Vandenberg family knows to be true, it’s that just as a smooth sea never made a sailor, a gentle terrain has never made a winemaker.
In 1857, an intrepid young Dutchman took to the high seas as a merchant sailor in search of fortune, adventure and a better life. 10,000 miles and 88 days later, a terrible nor’westerly gale parted the 800-tonne Dutch vessel, from her anchor and dashed her against the rocks of South Australia’s Limestone Coast.
Of the 23 strong crew, only nine made it ashore with their lives. Among them was Ari Vandenberg, a man of uncommon courage and tenacity. Soaked and chilled to the bone by the frigid Southern Ocean, Ari looked out at the wreck that had almost claimed his life and vowed he would tame this wild land and make his mark upon it.
Four generations of grape growers and over 150 years later, Richie Vandenberg continues Ari’s legacy on the Limestone Coast, nurturing grapes from the soil to the bottle. Renowned as one of the the toughest captains in the Australian Football League, Richie’s grit and determination helped him lead a struggling Hawthorn team to victory, in the 2005 AFL Championship Cup.
The Ari Collection is Richie’s tribute to the indomitable spirit of his great-great-grandfather.