Joseph and Henry Best immigrated to Australia as children from Surrey, England in 1834, eventually setting in Melbourne where they were schooled at St James. In the 1850s, the brothers moved west to Ararat, Victoria during the Victorian Gold Rush. The Best’s saw more profit in looking after the miner’s requirements (rather than competing with them to find gold), so they formed a butchery business supplying meat to the goldfields. The brothers noted the early success of the first wine growers in the district. In 1865, Joseph planted some vines with cuttings from the original St Peters vineyard nearby; while in 1866, Henry established his own vineyard a couple of miles to the west, named after the Concongella Creek. Henry planted 73 acres of vines with about two miles of frontage along the creek and named the property Concongella. While his knowledge of wine was minimal, Henry’s capacity for work was enormous and his project flourished. He built the original winery and underground cellars, using the skilled labour of local gold miners; both are still in use today. William Thomson, born in Paisley, Scotland in 1847, arrived in Australia in 1876. By 1892, William left his business as a baker and purchased an orchard, vineyard and working winery at Rhymney, 13 kilometres south west of Best’s, building a new homestead with his 16 year old son Frederick Pinchon Thomson, which they named St Andrews. The Great Western district was spared of worldwide grape disease phylloxera – which was wiping out other Victorian vineyards at the time. Their winery prospered during 1892 to 1900. William eventually returned to Melbourne and the baking business, leaving an ambitious Frederick in charge of the winery. In 1920 after Henry Best’s death, Frederick purchased Best’s Great Western. Frederick’s two sons, fourth-generation Thomson’s Eric Vivian (Viv) Thomson and William (Bill) Thomson took over the running of Best’s in 1949. Viv, a Roseworthy graduate, completed his 50th consecutive vintage at Best’s in 2010. His son Ben, became Managing Director and vineyard manager in 2008, carrying on the family tradition of taking the reigns from his father.
Bright pale straw colour with watery hue. Intense lemon and lime scents arise from the glass followed by some orange rind, light talc and mineral. Rich palate flavours of ripe lime and citrus are followed by some orange blossom, a trace of honeysuckle and some mineral. Excellent, with clean crisp medium dry finish. Long aftertaste of ripe lime, citrus, orange blossom and mineral.