Audio Colin Gramp discusses wine industry changes, 2005

TLF ID R8951

This is an edited sound recording of an interview with 85-year-old Colin Gramp, former technical director of Orlando, a well-known estate winery in South Australia's Barossa Valley. Gramp describes introducing new winemaking technologies at Orlando in the 1950s, a decision now recognised by the industry as having led to a dramatic change in wine production and consumption patterns throughout Australia. The recording was made in August 2005 and lasts for 2 min 16 s.

Educational details

Educational value
  • The recording features a man regarded as one of the most influential figures in helping winemaking develop into a major Australian industry. Gramp (1921-) explains how he became the first in Australia to introduce cold fermentation of grape juice (mixed with other ingredients) in controlled-temperature pressure tanks. The technique produced better quality wines, especially white wines, than the previous method of open-tank fermentation.
  • Gramp is a member of a winemaking dynasty that spans four generations. His great-grandfather Johann Gramp (1819-1903) is regarded as the first commercial grape grower and winemaker in the Barossa Valley, having begun in 1847. The business was founded by Johann and became known as Orlando, and it involved both Colin Gramp's grandfather Gustav (1850-1927) and his father Hugo (1895-1938).
  • Gramp explains how he was inspired to invest in new technology at the Orlando winery after a wine technician from West Germany visited Australia in 1953. This re-established a link between the family business and Germany that had begun in the 1840s when Gramp's German-born great-grandfather planted a vineyard. Gramp tells how he travelled to West Germany to learn more about winemaking technology.
  • In the recording Gramp says it was during a visit to West Germany in 1954 that he learnt about a technological development in winemaking (which allowed sparkling wine to be produced with fruit juice instead of sugar) in the controlled-temperature pressure tanks used at Orlando. At that time the only sparkling wine on the Australian market was relatively expensive French champagne, which did not sell in large quantities.
  • Gramp talks about the success of Barossa Pearl, the sparkling white wine produced at Orlando and launched in Australia in 1956. Previously, Australians had drunk about four times more fortified wines such as sherry than 'table wines' with lower alcohol content. Gramp notes that the popularity of Barossa Pearl helped to reverse the ratio, so that table wines - generally consumed with food - are now far more popular in Australia than fortified wines.
  • In 2003, Gramp was awarded life membership of the Winemakers' Federation of Australia in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the industry. The Federation acknowledged him for two major innovations. The first was Barossa Pearl, which it said had prompted a dramatic shift in the wines Australians drank. The second was the introduction of the technology that transformed the Australian wine industry.

Other details

  • Publisher
  • Date of contribution: 20 Sep 2013
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
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  • Copyright holder
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
  • Remarks: Copyright Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Author
  • Date of contribution: 2005
  • Name: Colin Gramp
  • Remarks: speaker
  • Content provider
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
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  • Sound
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  • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.