Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia


Historic Shiraz vines planted in Royal Botanic Garden

Environment Minister Robyn Parker recently commemorated Australia’s most planted wine variety, Shiraz, by planting cuttings that date back to 1867 in the Herb Garden at the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney.

'These cuttings from the "Old Hillside" Stevens Vineyard are from the oldest producing Shiraz vines in the Hunter Valley and most likely in New South Wales. These vines produce the Tyrrell’s Stevens Single Vineyard Hunter Shiraz,' Ms Parker said.

'The cuttings have been given to the Garden by Tyrrell’s Wines, so they can be preserved for posterity.'

Ms Parker said as the member for Maitland it is wonderful the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney and the Hunter Valley can be linked through today’s planting.

'You can draw parallels between these two places. They’re both beautiful - and drawcards for tourism. The Hunter Region is the second-most visited tourist destination in the State, while the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney is the most visited botanic garden in the world,' she said.

Ms Parker explained that today’s planting of the Shiraz vine in the European medicinal and culinary herb section of the Herb Garden is thematically appropriate.

'The European usage of grapes for medicinal purposes dates back thousands of years. European folk healers traditionally used grape leaves and sap to treat a range of conditions including skin and eye diseases, inflammation and pain. 

'Grapes were first cultivated in the Neolithic era (6000-6500 BC) in the region from Transcaucasia to Asia Minor and the medicinal role of wine dates back to 2200 BC making it the world’s oldest documented man-made medicine.

'Grapes have many uses including fresh and dried fruit, grape juice, distilled liquors, grape-seed oils, anthocyanin pigments and ethanol production. The Shiraz variety is a dark purple grape, high in powerful disease fighting antioxidants,' she said.

Winemaker Bruce Tyrrell said Shiraz is Australia’s most planted variety and accounts for at least 40 per cent of all land under vine.

'Australia has 62 geographical indicators and Shiraz is present in every one of them. The variety has proved extraordinarily adaptable to the vast range of climate and soil, with a unique ability to reflect conditions without losing varietal integrity,' Mr Tyrrell said.

'The age of our vineyards and the integrity of the source of these Shiraz vines makes our association with the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, as its official wine partner, the perfect fit.'