The Kelman Vineyard story and past wine awards are displayed in cabinets at the Kelman Cellar Door. A love for the land and a passion for winecraft were the hallmarks of William Kelman, one of the founding fathers of Australian wine. These attributes are today the guiding forces driving the owners of the vineyard that bears his name.
In 1824 William Kelman (1800-1863) and John Busby (1765-1857) arrived in Australia from Britain. Busby was commissioned to provide the township of Sydney with a water supply and when he retired in 1837, he received a gratuity of 1000 pounds and 2000 acres in the Hunter.
His second son, James Busby (1800-1871) had studied viticulture and winemaking in France. As a viticulturist, he is generally regarded as the founding father of the industry in NSW. In 1825 he received a grant of land in the Hunter which he named Kirkton, after Lord Saltaun’s estate in Scotland where William Kelman had been employed.
William Kelman met John Busby’s daughter, Katherine, on the ship to Australia. They married and settled in the Hunter. William Kelman looked after the vineyard at Kirkton.
Today, the spirit and passion of William continue at the vineyard owned and managed by its unique residential community.