The ‘Woodstock’ Name
The original Woodstock property was named by English settlers, after their hometown of Woodstock, near Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England. The Townsend Family, headed by William Louis Townsend, received a Crown Lease for the property in 1905, built a home with a brick well and established the estate as a vineyard and orchard. It has been known as Woodstock ever since.
In the centre of the town of Woodstock in England stands a set of medieval wooden leg stocks, which were historically used for the public punishment of townsfolk who had over-imbibed. A replica of these stocks welcomes you at the entrance of Woodstock Estate in McLaren Vale. Incidentally, our much-revered single vineyard Woodstock ‘The Stocks’ Shiraz, sourced exclusively from 31 rows of old Shiraz vines (planted circa 1900), has been cheekily named after this set of stocks!
The Collett Family
The late Doug Collett A.M. served as a fighter pilot for the Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Air Force during World War II. While flying Spitfires and Hurricanes over much of Europe, he observed the vast vineyards, tasted the many wines of Europe and became captivated by the wine industry. On his return, he studied Oenology at Roseworthy Agricultural College and then immersed himself in the burgeoning wine industry in Australia. Rapid promotions followed which soon saw him take charge of Australia’s biggest winery in South Australia’s Riverland town of Berri. Doug always had a special regard for McLaren Vale as a wine region. He admired its climate, its natural beauty and more importantly its ability to produce opulent red wines. When an opportunity arose to purchase Woodstock Estate in 1973, he did so without hesitation, built a winery and crushed its first vintage in 1974. In 1985, Doug was awarded an A.M. for his mammoth contribution to the Australian wine industry. He published an autobiography describing five years in the air force and 50 years winemaking on his 80th birthday in the year 2000. His book entitled “Astonishing Luck in the Face of Incredible Odds” is available at Woodstock Cellar Door.
Doug and Mary’s middle son, Scott, took over the running of Woodstock in 1982 and released a range of wines under the Woodstock name in 1983. Following in his father’s footsteps, Scott completed a Bachelor of Oenology at Roseworthy College and gained winemaking experience in other regions in Australia, Europe and the USA before returning to the family business. In 1986, he was crowned ‘The Bushing King’ of McLaren Vale for producing the best wine in the region that year. Tasting success, he bought some neighbouring vineyards in 1988, which included a single vineyard of 110 year old Shiraz vines. Until today, he personally tends to these majestic vines, which solely provide fruit for our flagship Woodstock ‘The Stocks’ Shiraz. With a firm belief in the natural partnership between fine wines and good food, Scott and his wife Anne, built Woodstock Coterie in 1988 to welcome visitors. The name Coterie was specifically chosen for the word’s meaning: a circle of friends sharing a similar interest.