Established in 1970, and with over 50-years of family-owned wine making history, Skillogalee is now recognised as one of Australia’s top riesling producers.
Winner of numerous wine awards starting with the 1978 Skillogalee Riesling, only the third vintage under the Skillogalee label, which won the Adelaide Wine Show trophy for best Riesling and then went on to win the trophy for best 1978 Riesling at the National Wine show.
WHERE IT BEGAN
Skillogalee operates a wine tasting, cellar door and a restaurant from an old stone cottage built in 1851 by a Cornish miner, John Trestrail, who settled here with his wife Anne and together had 18 children of whom 13 survived childhood. They operated the property, then called Trevarrick Farm, as a mixed home farm. It is said he was a religious man who did not approve of drinking!
The property remained in the Trestrail family until the early 1900’s. It was then planted to stone fruit and vines for dried fruit, currants and sultanas. In the 1950’s and 60’s it became a grazing property until it was bought by Spencer and Margaret George in 1969. It was planted to wine grapes over the next 2 or 3 years – early varieties were Riesling, Shiraz, Grenache and Crouchen (formerly know as Clare Riesling). In the early 1980’s, most of the Grenache and all the Crouchen were grafted to Traminer and Cabernet Sauvignon and additional small areas were planted with new Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.
ORIGIN OF THE NAME
In the early 1840’s, the pioneer and explorer John Horrocks settled at Penworththam, named after his home town in England. From here, he explored further north in the Flinders Ranges, using Afghan camels and looking for land suitable for settlement.
On one such expedition, Horrocks’ party was beset by illness, injuries and bad weather. Having run short of provisions, they survived only by making a “skillogalee” or “skilly” – a sort of thin porridge or gruel, probably from grass seeds and water. The word “skillogalee” comes from Celtic origins and the dish was commonly fed to prisoners in Ireland around this time.
When Horrocks finally made it back to Penwortham, he gave the creek nearby the name Skillogalee in memory of this event. The winery and vineyard take its name from this creek which runs through the lower, eastern end, of the property.