Sydney Hamilton

Sydney Hamilton

(18 July 1898 – 22 July 1987)

Leconfield Coonawarra was established in 1974 by noted oenologist, Sydney Hamilton. During a winemaking career spanning nearly 60 years, Sydney was highly regarded for his contribution to the industry.

Sydney Hamilton was especially known for pioneering temperature-controlled fermentation of white wines. This technique allowed for the preservation of delicate aromas and flavours and has become the benchmark for production of white wine around the world.

At the age of 76, Sydney Hamilton still yearned to make a classic Australian Cabernet Sauvignon and set himself the task of finding the right district in which to establish his own vineyard and winery. Showing great foresight, Sydney selected Coonawarra as the area with the potential to fulfill his ambitious dream. Thus Leconfield was born, named after an English ancestor, Lord Leconfield.

Situated in the southern half of the Coonawarra strip, the vineyard occupies some of the area’s richest terra rossa soil over limestone, a composition for which Coonawarra is famous. Original plantings were to the classic variety Cabernet Sauvignon however, Sydney saved a small section of the best soils for Riesling cuttings he had sourced from his Happy Valley vineyard in Adelaide. This enabled him to continue producing a small amount of dry white wine in the style for which he was famous. 

In 1981, with 65 vintages under his belt, Sydney decided to finally retire and Leconfield was acquired by his nephew Dr Richard Hamilton, then based in McLaren Vale. The winery retains its individual identity and character to this day, representing the essence of the famous Coonawarra strip.