Wine Importing and Marketing Services

Remembering d’Arry Osborn, a South Australian Wine Legend

Image courtesy of d’Arenberg

Third-generation South Australian winemaker Francis d’Arenberg Osborn—widely known as d’Arry—passed away on December 16th at the age of 95.

Credited as one of the founding fathers of the modern McLaren Vale wine industry, d’Arry grew his family winery, d’Arenberg, from bulk producer to one of the world’s best known Australian labels over the course of 70 consecutive vintages. In turn, he played a significant role in shifting the perception of McLaren Vale as a bulk wine growing region to one capable of premium wines on par with those from neighboring Barossa Valley.

In his 95th year of life, d’Arry could still be seen mowing the property’s lawn, talking with guests in the tasting room and traveling around many of the 90 countries to which d’Arenberg exports. He often appeared alongside his son, Chester Osborn, who took the winemaking and viticulture reins from his father in 1984.

“We had an amazing relationship,” says Chester Osborn. “He was a great raconteur. He could talk and talk forever and it was usually quite funny.”

Over the span of his long career, both d’Arry the man and his wines won numerous awards. They include one of Australia’s most prestigious, the Jimmy Watson Trophy, in 1969 for d’Arenberg’s 1968 Cabernet Sauvignon. The man himself was given the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 1978 and a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2004, to name a few honors.