Five Bendigo Agricultural & Horticultural Society medals on a fob chain, dated 1892 -1901. The medals were awarded to Hans W.H. Irvine, vigneron, politician and mine-owner who owned the Great Western vineyard (1888-1918) cellars and winery. Four of the medals were awarded for champagne and one for red wine. Each medal features the Arms of Bendigo and gives details of the award.
Medal 1: Hans W.H. Irvine Esq. for Champagne Show 1900
Medal 2: H.W. Irvine for Champagne Show 1893
Medal 3: Hans W.H. Irvine for Champagne Grand National Show 1892
Medal 4: Hans W.H. Irvine for Red Wine Show 1900
Medal 5: Hans W.H. Irvine Esq. M.L.C. 1st Prize for Champagne Ga National Show 1901

Hans William Henry Irvine, born in Melbourne in 1856, was a successful vigneron and politician, and was known as the 'wine king of Australia'. His largest holding was the Great Western winery, which he owned from 1888-1918. In the early 1890s Irvine purchased two-thirds of the produce of local vignerons, much of which was distilled into his brandy. He also became known for his claret, hock, chablis, burgundy, hermitage, sparkling hock and sparking burgandy. He was an effective self-promoter, and in 1892 entertained the Victorian governor in lavish style. He also pioneered wine advertising. Irvine was particularly interested in the science of wine-making, and used the latest technologies in his cellars. These contributed to his success at a time when so many other Victorian wine-makers were struggling.

In 1892 he was commissioned by the Victorian minister of agriculture to write a report on the Australian wine trade. Two years later he suggested a conference of vignerons to discuss problems facing the industry, and supported the proposal for a college of viticulture and the introduction of phylloxera-resistant American root stocks. He encouraged industry self-regulation through an elected board, the establishment of regional wineries and cheaper finance for investors in the wine industry. He travelled to Europe several times to learn wine-making techniques and arrange sales.

"The Irvine Wine Collection was acquired by Museum Victoria in 1989. It represents the history of the Great Western Vineyard and the achievements of Hans William Henry Irvine, vigneron and politician, from 1888 until 1922. It comprises 130 items ranging from publications, marketing items, packaging materials, wine labels, award medals, ceramics, illuminated address, commemorative trowel, trophy plaques, wine makers tools, and silverware."

Obverse Description

Arms of Bendigo with motto PROGRESS

Reverse Description

Around, COUNTY OF BENDIGO AGRICULTURAL AND HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY At centre, AWARDED TO Medal 1: Hans W.H. Irvine Esq. for Champagne Show 1900

Edge Description


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