Mitchelton Winery owners Gerry and Andrew Ryan are excited to announce the appointment of Alta Beverage Group as the exclusive agent for Mitchelton Wines in the USA. The agreement forms a central pillar of the future growth strategy for the Mitchelton brand and will herald the first foray of the Mitchelton Wines portfolio into the USA market since the iconic Central Victorian winery was acquired by the Ryan family in 2012. August 17, 2012 represented the beginning of a new era for much-loved central Victorian winery Mitchelton, as it passed from corporate ownership back into the hands of private owners, as it was when it was founded in 1969. Businessmen Gerry Ryan OAM and his son Andrew purchased the winery from Lion in 2011 and after a one year settlement, which saw the winery leased back to Lion, the Ryan’s are now at the helm. Gerry Ryan founded caravan company Jayco in 1975 and since then it has become one of Australia’s most successful manufacturers. Recently, Gerry has become known as owner of 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain and the founder of Australia’s first UCI professional cycling team – Orica GreenEDGE. Other interests include ownership of The Melbourne Pub Group and production company Global Creatures, which created the enormously successful arena show Walking with Dinosaurs. Andrew Ryan says they are excited to have the opportunity to return Mitchelton to its place as one of the country’s favored wineries, as it was when it pioneered winery tourism in the 1970s.
Winemaker Travis Clydesdale is relishing the new era. He has two years under his belt in the winery’s top job but his ties to Mitchelton are life-long. Travis’s father Mark has been the Mitchelton Cellar Manager for more than 30 years and Travis’s early memories revolve around times spent with his father at the winery. A graduate in Oenology from Charles Sturt University, Travis spent his early winemaking years across the Goulburn River at Tahbilk, and in recent years honed his craft at Deep Woods Estate in the Margaret River. Travis sees the estate’s unique climate and geological diversity as an inspiring and ideal environment to forge new pathways in winemaking.
Mitchelton’s story dates back to 1967 when Melbourne entrepreneur Ross Shelmerdine commissioned Colin Preece to find the best site for wine grape growing in south eastern Australia. Preece chose an old grazing estate in the Nagambie district for its climate, soil and proximity to water. Ross Shelmerdine called the winery Mitchelton and the vineyard’s first sod was turned in 1969. Don Lewis joined Preece for the first vintage in 1973, he assumed the winemaker’s mantle when Preece retired in 1974. That same year, Mitchelton’s winery and cellar door complex, designed by renowned Australian architect Ted Ashton complete with 55 metre tower, was opened. By the late 1970s the Valmorbida family also had equity in the Mitchelton business, before becoming part of the Petaluma Group in 1994 which in turn was acquired by Lion Nathan in 2001. In 2011 Lion privately negotiated the sale of the Mitchelton business with the Ryan family.