Hill of Grace Vineyard

Hill of Grace is surely one of the most evocative phrases in the world of wine. It is a translation from the German ‘Gnadenberg’, a region in Silesia, and the name given to the lovely Lutheran church that overlooks the vineyard. The 8 hectare single-vineyard shiraz planting is situated at the historic village of Parrot Hill 4km north-west of the Henschke winery.


The First Generation

The first vines on the Hill of Grace Vineyard, known as the ‘Grandfathers’, were planted by Nicolaus Stanitzki. The villagers built a beautiful church that same year, naming it Gnadenberg Lutheran Church, in tribute to a region in their homeland. 


The Second Generation

Paul Gotthard Henschke purchased the vineyard, later planting another block of shiraz in 1910. After his death in 1914, his sons and executors Paul Alfred and Julius Philip Henschke arranged the transfer to Julius Philip, who had married Ida Maria Magdalena Stanitzki, a granddaughter of Nicolaus Stanitzki. On Julius Philip’s death in 1928, the property transferred to his widow. 


The Fourth Generation

The property was purchased by Louis Edmund Henschke, son of Paul Alfred Henschke and brother of Cyril, who worked the vineyard and property for nearly 40 years.


The First Vintage

Cyril Henschke created the first Hill of Grace in 1958 from shiraz vines at Hill of Grace Vineyard, up to 100 years old. The exceptional quality wine, with its charming name, captured the imagination of wine lovers around the world. 

Hill of Grace Vineyard Today

All vines are planted on their own roots. Shiraz cuttings were brought to these ancient lands by early settlers from the Hermitage region of France. Today they are a living genetic trasure, a poignant reminder of the European vine heritage destroyed by phylloxera in the late 1800s. 
Just half of the Hill of Grace vineyard is planted with shiraz, designated as eight individual blocks. Only the six oldest blocks are used in Hill of Grace Shiraz. The remaining 4 hectares are planted with riesling, semillon and mataro. For many years Hill of Grace Shiraz was the star of the site but, in 2001, the Henschke family created Hill of Roses from the nursery shiraz vines. In 2008 they made the first Hill of Faith Mataro, and, in 2012, the first Hill of Peace Semillon. These additional single-vineyard wines will only be released from the best seasons. 
Centenarian and ancestor vines provide the magical ingredients in Hill of Grace Shiraz. Magestic and gnarled, the oldest, known as “The Grandfathers”, are more than 155 years of age. They are dry-grown, which allows the plants to find balance with nature, and are naturally low yielding due to their age. They deliver small berries of incomparable texture and complexity, which give Hill of Grace its trademark elegance, intensity and finesse. 
The soils on these slopes are thick, red, clay-rich loams overlain by a veneer of brown, fine, sandy-to-silty loam. Near Parrot Hill Creek, there is an additional layer of alluvial silty loam. The Grandfathers and Post Office Block 1 vines, in the western parts of the vineyard, are on these soils, which have good moisture-holding capacity down to at least 1.5m. On the House Block, in the eastern part of the vineyard, the red clay soil is free draining. It is overlain by a layer of grawl wash from the hill to the east, then by a layer of the same fine sandy-to-silty loam found in the western parts of the vineyard. The soil profiles in the rest of the vineyard vary between these two types.  
Fruit is picked across the six blocks at different times, according to ripeness and maturity, and the wine is made as individual lots. Keeping the blocks separate allows for variation of soil types, vigour and age of the vines, all of which produce different flavours that combine to make the complete wine. The vineyard is run using organic and biodynamic practices. Permanent swards of mainly native grasses are mowed low in the rows. Organic compost covered by a wheat-straw mulch under the vines helps to retain soil moisture, build up organic matter and microbial life, and inhibit weed growth. Constant monitoring for pests and disease through the growing season reduces the need for spraying. Local native plants are used to provide nectar, which attracts beneficial insects that assist with pest and disease control. 
The influence of the moon cycles has always been an important and familiar feature in the operation of the Henschke vineyards. The Hill of Grace Vineyard is picked around the full moon at Easter.  


Eden Valley wine region, 4km north-west of Henschke at Keyneton, in the Mount Lofty Ranges east of Barossa Valley, South Australia.


Shiraz (on own roots) - vines originate from pre-phylloxera material brought from Europe by the early European settlers. There are also small plantings of riesling, semillon and mataro. The oldest vines were planted circa 1860s by Nicolaus Stanitzki.


Alluvial, sandy loam over clay.


Average yield: 2.5 t/ha (1 t/acre)
Trellis: Two wire vertical, single wire at 70cm, Scott Henry
Planting: Wide planting 3.1m x 3.4m. Most are planted east-west, some north-south; dry grown
Treatments: Undervine mulching and permanent sward, incorporating organic and biodynamic practices
Maintenance quality: Mass selection carried out over three growing seasons from 1986. Establishment of a nursery source block in 1989
Rainfall: 520mm
Altitude: 400m
Latitude: 34° 30'
Longitude: 139° 07'
Aspect: North through west to south
Size: 8ha (4ha shiraz)


Shiraz. There are also small plantings of riesling, semillon and mataro.