Fine drop: New exhibition celebrates wine making origins

Robert Kerfoot and Anna Bergamin of Horsley Homestead, one of Fairfield City's remaining vineyards. The Horsley Homestead hosted the inaugural Horsley Wine Tasting Festival in November.
Robert Kerfoot and Anna Bergamin of Horsley Homestead, one of Fairfield City's remaining vineyards. The Horsley Homestead hosted the inaugural Horsley Wine Tasting Festival in November.

Fairfield's Finest Drop - the latest exhibition at Fairfield City Museum & Gallery - traces the early wine culture that grew from the first vine introduced and planted by James Busby in 1825.

The exhibition officially opens on February 29 and explores the influential history of Fairfield's wine making when European migrants established vineyards in the area, producing some of Sydney's first and finest wines during the late 1800s.

British settlers caught on to the trend, establishing large commercial vineyards on their country estates, culminating in Fairfield's viticulture (wine growing) boom.

"Vineyards flourished in the area due to the fertile soils created from creeks and regular floods, making it attractive to European migrants to continue family traditions of wine making passed through generations," Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone said.

"The exhibition is an appreciation of our region's past contributions to our nation's growing taste for wine, starting with James Busby - now regarded as the 'father of the Australian wine industry'.

"From the large, commercial vineyards of the late 19th century to families pressing grapes in their backyards today, this exhibition celebrates local winemakers past and present."

Fairfield's Finest Drop will feature a collection of historical photographs, accounts and objects from the height of wine making in the region.

To coincide with the exhibition launch on February 29, Fairfield City Museum & Gallery will host its first-ever free wine festival featuring grape stomping and wine and cheese tasting. The event starts at 2pm. The exhibition runs until August 22.