The Hill of Grace vineyard – one of Australia’s oldest and best known – has been in production since the 1860s when Nicolais Stanitzki, a German migrant, planted the first vines on the site. The land was purchased by Paul Gotthard Henschke in 1891 and after changing hands a number of times after his death, returned to the Henschke family in 1951. The vineyard takes its name from the English translation of Gnadenberg, a region in Germany, and also the name of the Lutheran church across the road from the site.
The first Hill of Grace Shiraz was produced in 1958 using the same vines planted by Stanitzki in the 1860s. These low yielding vines are now known as The Grandfather and are still used in the production of Hill of Grace to this day.
In 1996, Hill of Grace was classified as ‘Exceptional’, joining Penfolds, Grange in the top ranking of Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine: a system loosely modelled on the Bordeaux classification in 1855.
Several of Henschke, Hill Of Grace’s vintages have been scored in the high 90s by The Wine Advocate. The 2005 vintage has been the highest scoring, receiving 99 points from Lisa Perrotti-Brown who described it as, “Deep garnet with a hint of purple, [it] offers a wonderful perfume of kirsch, red currant preserves and raspberry coulis with hints of cinnamon stick, cloves and orange peel”. Another recent vintage that scored well was the 2002, which was awarded 98 points by both Perrotti-Brown and Parker.
Henschke was a new entrant into the 2014 Power 100, taking joint 54th place. The only other Australian brand in the table was Penfolds, Grange which came in at 17th. As shown in the chart below, both brands have demanded consistently high prices – comparable with the Bordeaux First Growths – though Hill of Grace has demanded the highest prices for each vintage. Only the 2008 vintage of Grange, with its 100 points, is more expensive than its Hill of Grace equivalent.