Vines, Wine and Identity

Max Dupain Climbing out after cleaning the inside of a barrel, Mount Pleasant winery, 1950, Courtesy of the National Library of AustraliaSupported by the ARC Linkage Project scheme, Vines, Wine and Identity: Hunter Valley NSW and Changing Australian Taste focuses on Australia's oldest wine region, the Hunter Valley NSW, to understand how a product that 50 years ago was considered 'unAustralian' has become a lifeblood of some regions and a new national drink

This Wine Studies Research Network project is a world-first historical sociological study, which has a two-pronged purpose:

  • Firstly, it aims to uncover the iconic region's history and heritage. This will build knowledge about the significance of the industry to the region's wine producing community, the Hunter, and the nation.
  • Secondly, it will look at how Hunter Valley producers have changed the Australian drinking culture by creating a taste for their wines.

An example of the University's commitment to producing world-class research through regional partnerships, the project will involve collaboration with both the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association and Newcastle Museum.

In collaborating on this project the Hunter wine community not only secures itself a better future by understanding its past, but contributes to new understanding of Australia's role in a critical global sector, and the nation's growing taste for wine.

Research outputs

  • Exhibition at Newcastle Museum, 4 August - 14 October 2018 - The exhibition is the first feature of the wider Vines, Wine & Identity project to be released publically. It traces through six generations of wine producers in the Hunter Valley, from when the first vines were planted in 1828 to the changing tastes and rising interest in wine of the 1980s, introducing the viewer to the changing historical conditions and many personalities that helped shaped the region.
  • Hunter Wine: a history book launch, 22 September 2018, Newcastle Museum - In a similar vein to the above exhibition, the book indentifies and names the generations of the Hunter Valley giving the wine community of producers and workers a voice. Instead of defining the “wine region” by an external narrative from either wine education or national history, it shows how the Hunter Valley community has its own local logic and innovations while being connected to wider influences, including the global economy.
Video: Vines, Wine and Identity: NSW and Changing Australian Taste - an exhibition

Wine history archive

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Max Dupain Grapes pouring into the press, Mount Pleasant winery, 1950, Courtesy the National Library of Australia

Images: (top of page) Climbing out after cleaning the inside of a barrel, Mount Pleasant winery, 1950. (Above) Grapes pouring into the press, Mount Pleasant winery, 1950. Both by Max Dupain, courtesy of the National Library of Australia.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.