Our History

The Foundation of a Great Glass of Wine

  • 1815July 11th

    Frank Potts is Born

    Born in England in Hounslow, England in July 1815, Frank Potts joined the British Navy at the youthful age of 9. He became a ‘Powder Monkey’ whose duty was to carry bags of gunpowder to the guns. After serving on the HMS Victory (which was being used as a training vessel at the time) for several years, Frank sailed on HMS Challenger from 1828 – 1833.

    During this time he travelled to Australia, the Middle East, India, China and back to Australia (Fremantle) before sailing back to England via South America to complete a circumnavigation of the globe. So, until the age of 18 Frank was raised in the British traditions of global exploration and achievement.

  • 1836December 28th

    Frank Arrives in South Australia

    Frank came to the new colony of South Australia aboard the HMS Buffalo, alongside Captain Hindmarsh who would go on to be the first Governer of the state.

    Starting colonial life as a carpenter, Frank built some of the first houses in Adealdie. He then worked under the first harbour master, Captain Lipson, constructed his own ketch which he named the Petrel, and became a trader on Kangaroo Island, trading salt back to Port Adelaide.

  • 1850April 1st

    Bleasdale is Born

    While on his way to Wellington to undertake a Ferry master position in 1849, Frank crossed the Bremer River and noticed the fertile floodplains of what was then known as Langhorne’s Crossing. Frank purchased the first Section of the new town of Langhorne Creek in 1850, and together with his new wife, cleared the land of its huge red gum trees and began farming.

    When Shiraz and Verdelho were vines being planted a few years later, Bleasdale became the first winery established in Langhorne Creek.

    Frank Potts liked building things – a home, a workshop, a winery, water pumps, floodgates, vats, a lever press and a dynasty. When he added more land to his original holding, the vineyard area expanded and so the winery, and the family, grew.

    In his later years, Frank handed over the daily workings of the vineyards and winery to three of his sons and went back to boat building. He built three paddle steamers and a number of barges along with several yachts which he and his sons enjoyed racing on nearby Lake Alexandrina – very competitively.

    In 40 years, the estate had transformed and the family became a significant part of the burgeoning wine industry in South Australia. The basis for a strong viable family estate was established.

  • 1890December 12th

    The Second and Third Generations

    1890 – 1948

    On Frank I’s death in 1890, the original section with the winery was inherited by his son, Frank II. Two other sons, Fred and Henry, had adjoining properties and they all worked together building the fortunes of Bleasdale in harmony. The original Shiraz and Verdelho vines saw new varieties added – Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec – and the wines produced continued to be mostly fortified Ports, Sherries and Madeira.

    Frank II died in 1916 and for 19 years, his wife Alice, along with her large family of 10 children, ran the property and winery. Through the First World War and the difficult years of the 1920s the grapes grew, wine was made and sold, and the business survived. Bleasdale could easily have been lost at this time, but hard work, vision and family commitment saw it through.

    On Alice’s death in 1935, her eldest son A.B. (Artie) Potts inherited the winery and original section, other sons inherited vineyards and the daughters inherited money. By 1939, A.B. Potts had a bridge built across the creek and added a floodgate to provide greater control of floodwaters in both Bleasdale’s vineyards and for those of his neighbours downstream. The bounty of the Bremer River was more fully utilised.

  • 1948January 1st

    Bleasdale Becomes a Company

    In 1948 the privately owned property became a Company, Bleasdale Vineyards Pty. Ltd., with shareholders being A.B. Potts’ own family and several of his brothers.

    Following World War II many things changed in the wine industry, with immigration, mainly from Europe, changing social structures. Table wines were introduced and wineries raced to adapt. At this stage, and to provide post-war employment, the current cellar door and a spirit store were added. Bleasdale also took on a number of Greek migrants who were not only very industrious in the vineyards and winery, but built a house and other additions.

    Bleasdale kept pace, making its first varietal red, a Malbec, in 1961. In the winery, stainless steel tanks and refrigeration were installed. The sparkling wines entered our culture and, in 1964, Bremer Gold was released – the first of a large range of bubbles, including a “Sparkling Burgundy”. The range of varietal reds expanded and the whites followed.

  • 1981June 1st

    The Year of Floods

    1981 became known as the ‘Year of Floods’. Normally there were 2-3 floods a winter – this year there were at least 10.

  • 1990January 1st

    The 1990s

    In the 1990s, there was a drive to double the size of the Australian wine industry to cement its place in the global wine industry. This started with a doubling of the area of vineyards planted and, along with major changes in the approach to water in the Murray Darling Basin, enabled Managed Investment Scheme projects to prosper, albeit temporarily. Along with other aspects of globalisation, the effect on the wine industry has caused serious difficulties in operating viable businesses.

    So far Bleasdale has weathered this storm by focussing on developing quality in the vineyards, increasing the range and quality of branded wines, seeking new opportunities by sourcing white grapes from the Adelaide Hills and generally adopting a positive approach in difficult times.

    In 1995 our red wine range was finally given the names you still know today – Frank Potts Cabernet Blend, Mulberry Tree Cabernet Sauvignon and Bremerview Shiraz.

  • 2013January 1st

    Bleasdale Welcomes New Shareholders

    In 2013, new shareholders invested in Bleasdale, helping to ensure the winery has a long and prosperous future.

  • 2017August 3rd

    James Halliday Winemaker of the Year

    Senior Winemaker, Paul Hotker was named James Halliday's Winemaker of the Year for 2018

  • 2018September 30th

    Bleasdale Wins Max Schubert Trophy

    Bleasdale's 2016 Generations Shiraz was awarded the prestigious Max Schubert AM Trophy for Most Outstanding Red Wine at the 2018 Royal Adelaide Wine Show.