History of Mudgee Wines
In 1854 Andreas Kurtz the Great Grandfather of Alfred Gustave Kurtz, migrated from Bavaria to Australia. Andreas was a weaver and a wine maker and planted the vineyard in 1856. He was also known as 'Farmer Kurtz' in Henry Lawson's (1867 - 1922) famous poem 'The Days When We Went Swimming'. ‘He leased a forty-acre block, and thought he owned the county’. http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/poetry/dayswim.html .
The vineyard was named 'Cudgegong River Valley' situated in Eurunderee and managed by David Kurtz (Alfred Kurtz's Grandfather).
During the 1960's Alfred Kurtz took over the management of the vineyard and started to lay down the foundations of success. Through his creative flair and hard work he succeeded in creating fine wines in the Mudgee region and the vineyard later to become 'Mudgee Wines'.
The present owners are continuing the fine old traditions of the winery. The famous 'Old Bush Vine Shiraz' is made from the vines dating back over 150 years. All the fruit is grown, and wine produced and created in the winery from local selected Mudgee fruit. The large storage on the site enables wine to be sold locally, nationally and internationally, with total production exceeding one million litres.
History of Chardonnay Vines
Ivor Roberts met with Alf Kurtz and his wife Laura in late ‘72/early 73. Roberts writes that ‘Laura Kurtz now produced their 1971 Chardonnay, then the 1972, and here’s what she told him: ‘Dr Boubals, and expert from Montpellier, came out from France early in 1970. He went to Merbein [the CSIRO viticultural research station near Mildura] and other wine districts in Victoria, and to South Australia and New South Wales. He also visited our vineyards and told us that ours was the only true French Chardonnay he had seen in Australia. He came when the fruit was still on the vine.’
The last is a crucial point since the best way to tell Chardonnay from Pinot Blanc is when the grapes are ripening - Chardonnay grapes tend more to gold-green than those of Pinot Blanc. ‘And these two vintages are 100% Chardonnay?’ asked Roberts. Mrs Kurtz confirmed that they were, and Alf said: ‘I have one earlier Chardonnay left, either a ’69 or ’70. We’ll try that one too.’ It was a 1970 Chardonnay, which means Alf Kurtz was making Chardonnay before Murray or Pieter van Gent.
James Halliday wrote in the Weekend Australian, in October 2003, that ‘Alf Kurtz obtained what turned out to be an exceptional, virus-free clone of chardonnay when he established his own business, Mudgee Wines, in the 1960s. It became the source block for much of the early plantings of chardonnay across Australia through the 1970s and 1980s.’ That doesn’t answer the question about where the chardonnay vines came from, but it confirms that Mudgee was the place to get the best cuttings from in the late sixties, and Alf Kurtz's vineyard the most likely source.