HISTORY OF THE CALLIOPE WINERY
The Buller family entered the winemaking business in 1921 when the founder of the firm, Reginald Langdon Buller purchased 170 acres at Rutherglen. The property, subsequently named ‘Calliope’, had 50 acres of vines and a rather neglected cottage but no winemaking facilities.
Reg’s first vintages were made by local wineries under
contract however it soon became apparent that it was more profitable to have
your own winemaking facilities.
As a result Reg Buller built his own winery on the property. The exact year the winery was built is uncertain but it was in the mid 1920s. A cellar was erected, six small fermenters and two pits constructed, a crusher and two presses purchased. The fermenters are still used today.
Over the years storage capacity of the Calliope winery has
expanded to accommodate the many vintages required to produce the premium aged
fortifieds. To produce a consistent
blend for our Rutherglen fortifieds the winemaker needs access to a great many
vintages. In this way he is able to
smooth out the vagaries of nature. Each
vintage has its own unique qualities and this is particularly the case with
grapes from our non-irrigated vines at ‘Calliope’. There is no substitute for time in maturing
wine, so adequate storage facilities are an essential part of the winemaking
Although Andrew Buller has incorporated some modern
winemaking facilities, the winery at ‘Calliope’ hasn’t change much since the
1920s. It is well suited to making small
batches using traditional methods.
These unique wines are released under the ‘Calliope’ label.
Footnote: ‘Calliope’ (pronounced Kal-eye-oh-pea) is the name
of the ancient Greco-Roman muse, the Goddess of Poetry.
Reg Buller took this name for his new enterprise from a ship which was named Calliope.
The Calliope, a British warship, was the sole survivor of the great hurricane of 1889 which struck the harbour of Apia in Samoa. Reg Buller saw the survival of the Calliope as a metaphor for the survival of his winery business as it sailed through the storms of the economy and natural disasters toward eventual hoped-for tranquillity.
The story of the Calliope’s survival is told in stirring fashion in A.B. (Banjo) Patterson’s ‘Ballad of the Calliope’.