It takes an amazing amount of vision to look at a patch of sunburnt red soil and imagine a vineyard bursting with fruit.
That’s exactly what the late Wyndham Hill-Smith did when he founded Oxford Landing in 1958.
Few things in life have the power to capture a sense of place and community like wine. As places go, Oxford Landing is something special. No wonder he was smitten. It’s a location you don’t forget (or leave) in a hurry. Just ask the locals. The gobsmacking River Murray winds its way through the rugged rural landscape, rippling with life and promise. A sense of community is the heart of the South Australian region and the river is the lifeblood that keeps it flowing.
Wyndham (or Wyndy as he was known to mates) was a winemaker for Yalumba and a visionary. He and production manager Norm Hanckel searched long and hard to find the perfect patch of land on which to plant a vineyard. United by a love of painting, they travelled the sunburnt land in Wyndy’s Buick, capturing what they saw; brushstroke by brushstroke. Oh, what a palette Mother Nature provided; vivid red soil, clear blue skies, multi-coloured native birds, towering gum trees, and sunlight dancing on the river.
Most of all, Wyndy was drawn to the rich soil, the drainage it provided, and the property’s proximity to water. The hand-planting of Oxford Landing Estate Vineyard (originally known as Yalumba River Estate) was a hands-on affair that provided residents of the nearby town of Waikerie with much-needed employment and a sense of pride that still exists today.