Our Story

James Tilbrook

James is from an old Suffolk farming family in England. He went to Ag College in Shropshire and then after a student exchange to Australia in ’86, he returned to work for the wine merchant, Oddbins, spending his summer holidays cycling around the wine regions of France. In ’96 he organised a working holiday to Australia and just before leaving met Annabelle. He worked a vintage in the Barossa Valley and then Oregon. In ’98 they married and he emigrated to Australia and worked a vintage at Pipers Brook Vineyard in Tasmania, and then post vintage at Mountadam in South Australia.

James quickly realised that to make great wine he needed to establish his own vineyard. A search of Australian cool climate regions led him to Lenswood in the Adelaide Hills. Eight acres of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were planted in ’99. Then one acre of Sauvignon Blanc in ’03, an acre of Chardonnay for sparkling wine base in ’04, and in ’06 an acre of Pinot Gris for their popular dessert wine.

Annabelle TilbrookJames stirring the barrels in the winery

Annabelle was born and raised in the warmth of South East Queensland before a seven year journey through Tasmania, England and the Scottish Highlands. Annabelle likes the natural beauty of cool climate landscapes and whilst in Tasmania fell for the delicate flavours of cool climate wine and its delightful seasonal produce.

She married James in 1998, and they spent their early married life in Hobart and at Pipers Brook in Northern Tasmania before deciding to pursue James’ vigneron dreams, on the “mainland”. After much searching they settled in the beautiful Lenswood region in the Adelaide Hills and many a weekend in the early days was spent, boots and hat on, establishing their vineyard. Now she helps out in the cellar door whenever she can.

Pippa Tilbrook

Pippa was possibly the naughtiest and friendliest English Springer Spaniel in the Adelaide Hills. She was well known for her thievery and rapid consumption of pumpkin scones, roast chickens and generally anything remotely edible. Apart from this, she was a wonderful children’s dog and could sometimes be seen snoozing in the cellar door on the red sofa. On weekends she was banned from the cellar door having disgraced herself once too often by devouring food brought in by unsuspecting customers! She was more likely to be found in the cellar door on weekdays whilst James is making the wine.

Check out the “green cover” edition of “Wine Dogs” by Craig McGill where Pippa is featured in all her glory, on page 88.

It is with great sadness that have to report that our dear friend and beautiful dog Pippa, died on the night of the 15th of December 2012. She was nearly 13. We will miss her greatly as she was with us from the start of our vineyard and winery journey. She spent many happy years with James at the vineyard and then down at the winery. Pippa was a special dog, a great character and a faithful friend to us all.

 

Lucy Tilbrook

Lucy Tilbrook

 

Lucy is the newest member of the family, our adorable Golden Retreiver puppy. At the moment she is too young to come down to the winery or to go out to the vineyard but we look forward to the day when she can!

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