- SEVEN GENERATIONS -
The Chambers family have been producing wine and lamb in Rutherglen continuously since 1858. Learn more about our seven generations of history below and discover the passion and dedication we've inherited over more than 150 years.
Seven Continuous Generations of Wine and Lamb Production in Rutherglen
Chambers wine production in Rutherglen began with William Chambers
William Chambers was born in Suffolk and arrived in Adelaide with his wife and son in the mid 1850’s. He travelled by paddle steamer up the Murray River until his boat ran aground in Wahgunyah. Almost immediately, in 1858, William Chambers settled in Rutherglen and began winemaking and so the Aussie Chambers story began. As sweet Sherry and Port had been the bread and butter of the Australian wine industry since the 1840’s it is fair to assume a good proportion of Williams wine would have been fortified, most likely using spirit from the neighbouring Vidals distillery, and enlisting the assistance of Anton Ruche, a good but reclusive winemaker from Prussia.
The Second Generation – Philip and Rosina Chambers.
William’s second son Philip worked at Lindeman’s in Corowa. He and his wife, Rosina, continued making wine on the Chambers property, still enlisting the assistance of Anton Ruche. The property was now called Rosewood due to the hedge of pink roses he planted in the drains around the house paddock. Around this time the Chambers family purchased the site upon which Anton Ruche's winery was established. The fully operational Rosewood Winery remains in the same historic location.
The Third Generation - William and Rose Chambers.
Philip died suddenly leaving his 20 year old son, William Henry, to provide for a large family. In 1899, after losing his entire vineyard to phylloxera, he and his brothers gradually replanted his vineyards with American phylloxera resistant rootstock imported from France. The varieties planted were muscat, muscadelle and shiraz. William was an intelligent man with an excellent palate. In luscious vintages when the grapes raisoned up he made small quantities of ‘pet wines’ in which the sugar increased with the second and third pressings. These ‘pet wines’ with the necessary sweetness and body, became his ‘show wines’. In 1901 Will Chambers won Gold Medals at the Sydney and Brisbane shows, and for the next thirty eight years his wines featured in prize lists throughout the country. By the time he ceased exhibiting in 1939 he had won 300 prizes, and in 30 years at the Melbourne Show he was awarded the Championship 27 times. A small quantity of William’s ‘pet wine’ forms the Chambers Rosewood Solera Proper, the increasingly valuable and prized wine that began the process. The staggering intensity and concentration of this original wine means that only tiny amounts are required to make a dramatic statement.
The Fourth Generation – Arthur and Peggy Chambers.
William married Rose and together they had two children, Arthur and Daisy. Daisy married Charles Morris cementing the already strong relationship between the Morris and Chambers families. In 1924 William and his son, Arthur, purchased Lakeside which included 30 acres of vines. Arthur and his wife, Peggy, made their home in the Lakeside heritage homestead, where they raised their seven sons. Arthur was a military man: in 1922 he was a Corporal serving with the 8th Light Horse. He finished his military career in 1943 with the rank of Major serving with the 8th Australian Cavalry Regiment. Arthur used his newly acquired fruit to make his own wine at Campbell’s before becoming a partner with his father. The Lakeside property is the home of Lake Moodemere Estate, and the site of the single vineyard from which our fruit is sourced.
The Fifth Generation - Peter and Helen Chambers.
Peter was the fourth son of Arthur and Peggy. Peter, with his wife, Helen, purchased Lakeside from Peggy. Peter excelled in the viticultural elements of wine production, laying the foundation for the high quality fruit used in the production of Lake Moodemere Estate wines. The Lake Moodemere vineyard is a product of Peter’s viticultural knowledge and management. He was also a progressive farmer, one of the first to adopt direct drill farming techniques and to change his farming practices from fat lambs to prime lambs. He was an active protagonist serving on several agricultural and community committees, councils, and boards.
The Sixth Generation – Michael and Belinda Chambers.
Sixth Generation wine producer, Michael Chambers, with his wife, Belinda, launched Lake Moodemere Vineyards in 1995, opening the first cellar door to operate on the ‘Lakeside’ property. Together they own and operate Lake Moodemere Estate, growing, making, and selling their wines with grapes sourced from their single estate vineyard. In addition they own and farm 800 acres of agricultural land producing free range prime lambs. In 2013 Michael and Belinda purchased the property from Michael’s mother, Helen, and moved the Lake Moodemere Estate cellar door into the Heritage Homestead. The original cellar door, 400 metres along the bank of Lake Moodemere, has now been completely refurbished and recreated into the Moodemere Lake House where guests can stay and enjoy uninterrupted views of Lake Moodemere.
The Seventh Generation - Joel and Harry Chambers
Joel Chambers works full time with Lake Moodemere Estate managing the vineyard and assisting with the farm which includes around two thousand sheep. Eldest son, Harry, has returned to assist in running the cellar door, carry out building maintenance and expansion projects and help out on the farm and in the vineyard. Both sons have grand plans for the future of Lake Moodemere Estate. Their passion and belief combined with a forward looking team contribute to a positive and inclusive culture essential to the success of future generations.