In 1980 Paul and Jill Buttery took a chance and put all their hard earned money, with some help from the bank, into buying a vineyard on Tatachilla Road, in the heart of the McLaren Vale Wine Region.
After a few years, the Buttery’s bought another vineyard with land on the eastern side of the region in the foothills near McLaren Flat and called it Gemtree. They set about gradually planting the rest of the land.
While their daughter Melissa had already completed an Associate Diploma in Business, it was in 1994 where Melissa decided that she too would make a career out of grape wrangling.
Melissa is now a qualified viticulturist and manages the Gemtree Vineyards, as well as other vineyards for customers of the Terraces Vineyard Management, an offshoot of Gemtree.
In 1997, Andrew returned from Melbourne to manage The Terraces and in 1998, the Buttery family launched the Gemtree wine label.
Mike Brown soon entered the picture as not only a winemaker, but Melissa’s future husband. Having gained valuable experience at d’arenberg wines, the Buttery family invited Mike to be their chief winemaker.
Today Gemtree owns 330 acres of prime vineyard with varieties such as Shiraz, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Petit Verdot, Savagnin and Verdelho.
Since 1998 Gemtree has been developing the 10 ha Gemtree Wetlands. Having created six dams and planted in excess of 50,000 native trees, they are now working in partnership with Greening Australia creating an area of biodiversity which is a major haven for native plants, frogs, birds and other animals, as well as being a great teaching resource for the community. Their ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability has led to the Gemtree vineyards being farmed biodynamically since 2007. These practices have continued through into the winery and we are now seeing the first 100% biodynamic Gemtree wines being released onto the market.