Tyrrell Family

Winemakers over several generations since the 1850s
Inducted 6 December 2006

The Tyrrells are one of the region’s original winemaking families and their company is still family owned and operated.

The family’s winemaking origins stem from the arrival in Australia of Edward Tyrrell in 1850. His first vintage was harvested in 1864 and his first home in Pokolbin, Ashmans, is still standing today.

In 1869, Edward married Susan Hungerford and they had ten children. Edward George ‘Dan’, eldest son of Edward, started his first vintage in 1885. In 1887, Edward handed over the running of Ashmans to Dan, then aged 15, who went on to operate the winery and vineyard with Avery, Edward’s youngest son. Edward Tyrrell died at Pokolbin in 1909.

Dan Tyrrell continued to run the Ashmans operation, and in time took on the Kaludah winery as well.

In 1916, Avery Tyrrell returned home injured from the First World War, and started to play a part in the operations of the vineyards. Murray Tyrrell was born in 1921, eldest son of Avery Tyrrell

In 1947, the vineyard area was worked entirely by horses, taking seven weeks to plough the vineyards.

Bruce Tyrrell was born in 1951, second child of Murray and Ruth Tyrrell.

Murray began to take over the winemaking duties and management of the family wineries from his Uncle Dan in 1955, following armed service in the Second World War and also working as a cattle trader in NSW. Dan Tyrrell died in 1959.

In 1960, following hail damage in previous years, Murray used the radical solution of using large sky rockets (imported from France) to disperse hail clouds, which had the effect of converting potential hailstones into sleet. In 1961, Murray introduced the “Vat” labelling system.

The Long Flat Red brand was introduced in 1966.

In 1969, with Len Evans and nine other co-founders, Murray established Rothbury Estate.

In 1971, Sparkling Moselle finally outsold Special Sweet Sherry as Tyrrell’s biggest volume seller.

In 1972 the first export of 1,000 cases of wine were sent to the USA.

In 1973, Murray made Australia’s first oak-barrel fermented wine.

Bruce Tyrrell joined Tyrrell’s Wines in 1974, the fourth generation of the family to join the company. Bruce wrote the wine industry’s first direct mail brochure for the Private Bin Club in 1978.

In 1979, Tyrrell’s Vat 6 Pinot Noir won the prestigious Gault Millau Award for the world’s finest Pinot Noir at the Wine Olympiad in Paris, resulting in the wine being featured on the cover of Time magazine.

In 1986, Murray was made a Member of the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to the Australian wine industry.

In 1994, Bruce became the CEO of Tyrrell’s Wines, and subsequently oversaw the expansion of the company’s vineyard holdings to interstate properties. Tyrrell’s was voted Australia’s Best Winery in 1995.

Murray Tyrrell died in 2000, at a time when the company’s production increased to 850,000 cases, with over 35% being exported to 30 countries around the world.

By 2002, fifth generation Jane, John and Christopher Tyrrell, children of Bruce and Pauline, were all involved and working in the company.

In 2003, Bruce Tyrrell was named Hunter Valley Business Person of the Year. Andrew Spinaze, Tyrrell’s chief winemaker also won Australian Gourmet Traveller and Winestate magazines’ Winemaker of the Year Awards.

 Visit the Tyrell's website

Plaque location

Visitor Information Centre, Wine Country Drive, Pokolbin