a boutique winery with spectacular alpine views
Nestled on the eastern slope of the Warby Range in Glenrowan, North East Victoria, Australia is the Morrison family vineyard, winery and cellar door.
Morrisons produce crisp, fruit driven white wines and a range of Mediterranean red wine varieties that include Shiraz, Durif, Tempranillo and Primitivo. The red wines are of stunning depth and character typical of the unique terroir of the Glenrowan wine region. They are aged in oak casks and estate bottled by winemakers Dianne and Bob Morrison.
Former schoolteachers, Dianne and Bob Morrison, began their winemaking using traditional methods in 1999. Their wines have a loyal following and each year brings a different set of nuances to the already distinctive flavour of the Glenrowan wine region.
Morrison Family History
Clive Morrison – a dapper entrepreneur
Clive Rothesay Morrison was born in Clunes, central Victoria to Scottish parents who emigrated from England for the Australian gold rush. At the beginning of last century, Clive ventured north to the thriving metropolis of Albury with his wife Emily to work as the bookkeeper at Blake’s Busy Book Bazaar. He had two sons – Bruce and Leslie.
Quite the entrepreneur, and aware that one must always be well shod, Clive opened his first boot and shoe emporium, Morrisons of Albury, in Swift Street. The business grew and moved to Olive Street and relocated again to a large store under The Ritz ballroom in Dean Street. A stylish gentleman, Clive was the first to stock the latest fashion shoes for ladies in Albury.
An untimely death – and a new generation
The town was shocked when a policeman backing the police vehicle out of the station driveway in Olive Street killed Clive Rothesay Morrison on his way to work. He was 86 years of age. It was to be the first and last time Clive would ever be in a hospital. He was the picture of good health and used to swim in the Murray River most days until he was in his early sixties. Sadly, Clive had not prepared a will and the Morrison family business was lost.
The year was 1950 and at this time, Bruce Morrison was the Shire Engineer and secretary for the Shire of Wangaratta. He was in a position to continue the lease of the store for his brother Leslie and his wife Thelma.
Morrisons of Albury – a flourishing business
Together the Morrison brothers developed their emporium to be the largest shoe store in Albury. Bruce had a flair for window dressings and artistic photographic displays. Always up to the minute, Morrisons promoted the Disney phenomenon and had the marketing foresight to create postcards advertising their wares.
Leslie Morrison’s eldest son Kevin recalls how his father would make the ten-hour return trip to the Collingwood area of Melbourne where all the major shoe factories were located in order to buy the latest city shoe fashions. A kind man, Leslie would always bring home a small gift for his wife Thelma, his teenage son Kevin and infant son Robert Douglas Morrison.
Morrisons – moving with the times
It was in the 1930’s the distinctive Morrisons script, used on the wine labels of Morrisons of Glenrowan, was contrived. Robert Morrison has ascertained that the graphic designer was Victorian as the letter ‘r’ is written differently to the way he was taught at school in NSW.
The Morrisons adopted the latest way of fitting shoes – via an X-ray device. This large lead cabinet would allow you to view your feet to see if the shoes were the correct size.
Morrisons – a third generation and the end of an era
Robert Morrison, despite being old enough, never worked as a delivery boy for the family business. Robert was a happy child getting up to mischief with his mates. Robert left Albury at the age of 16 to go to Teachers College in Ballarat and commenced his teaching career as principal of King Valley State School in 1963.
Kevin Morrison worked in the family business when he left school at 15, until he moved to the bright lights of Melbourne in 1967. A few short months after that, Leslie Morrison, who had survived cancer in the late 50’s, fell ill again. Kevin returned to shut the shop down. Leslie recovered, but he sold the shop and worked for Mates Shoes in Wodonga until his retirement.
The Morrison family today
Leslie and Thelma Morrison passed away in the mid 1980’s. Kevin Morrison enjoyed a career in film following his move to Melbourne, where he resides today. Now retired, he is working as a volunteer at St Paul’s Cathedral in the city.
Robert Morrison married Dianne Sebastian in the late 1960’s and has three daughters, Maxine, Robyn and Anne, two grandsons, Campbell and Sebastian, and one granddaughter, Charlie.
Robert and Dianne had very rewarding teaching careers before deciding to change direction and make their own wine.
Mitta North was Robert’s second appointment as Head teacher (1964 – 1966). Robert was nineteen years of age and was paid a weekly salary of forty pounds ($80) with an extra $2 a week for cleaning the school and an additional 50c for emptying and cleaning the toilets. The very small school had eighteen pupils with no electricity and no telephone.
Dianne made the first vintage in 1999 whilst Robert completed a cellar door management program. In 2001 Robert and Dianne completed a twelve month wine making course which encouraged Robert to continue study and complete his Diploma of Wine Technology with the University of Melbourne over four years, finishing in 2007. Production has increased from 60 litres in 2000 to 8000 litres today.