The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future’
– Theodore Roosevelt
It constantly amazes me the incredible and relatively unknown history of Caudo Vineyard. As I watched the majestic Murray Princess pull into the banks of the Cellar door, I was reminded of how full circle the property has come since being first settled in the 1800’s and how every part of the fascinating history is shaping the Caudo Vineyard business today.
So the story goes, Herman Wattchow and his wife Emma, first walked over the hill above the now cellar door, and were astounded by the magnificent Murray River and her untouched potential. He decided this was the place he wanted to call home and began preparations to make this happen, naming the property “Wattchows Landing”.
The construction of the original house which is located behind the current homestead was dug into the hill in 1889, and amazingly housed 6 people! It is pretty impressive considering the 1 room house is smaller than the cellar door! The homestead of the property was built in 1902, as the families wealth started to grow and the expansion of the property began to take place.
During this period in history the paddle steamer trade was at an all time high, and was the easiest and most efficient way of transporting goods between properties and towns. Due to its commanding position upon the river banks, Wattchows Landing became a wood stock up point for the passing paddle steamers. Here, Herman and Emma would trade wood for groceries, clothes, and anything else that may be acquired from aboard the boats at the time. The paddle steamers would tie up to the three Sentinel Red Gum trees in front of the homestead, which amazingly 100 years later, the paddle steamers today still do when they visit the cellar door.
As you watch the giant ropes be tied around the trees you can’t help but feel a bit ‘de ja vu’ and a sense of pride that the trees have lasted through many droughts and floods.
Nowadays, instead of bringing goods of sorts, the paddle steamers now bring guests who are able to experience the property as it is today. It is a spectacular sight to watch the Murray Princess PS round the bend before the cellar door, something I am sure Herman and Emma would have appreciated watching as well.
As well as being a convenient place for paddle steamers to tie up, the Sentinel trees were also the perfect place for the stock animals to find shade in the blistering summer heat. I’m not comparing our lovely cellar door guests to animals, but I think we all can appreciate the magnificent shade these bad boys throw out on a hot day!
The property was fondly known as ‘Rose Farm’ in the region thanks to Emma Wattchows incredible love for roses. The property was a sea of different varieties and colours which has continued throughout the property today. Emma’s incredible passion for gardening is the reason our vineyard blocks are named after rose varieties.
It is an amazing privilege to be able to see first hand how the passion for the river and desire to preserve its beauty, has been embraced by each owner the property has had. I am sure that Herman and Emma never expected their small farm to turn into a thriving Cellar door, however I believe they would have revelled in people sharing their love for this spectacular piece of paradise.
Every piece of the properties history has an important part to play in the business as it stands today. Between our logos, vineyard names, cellar door and the home of our owners these parts pay homage to the magnificent past and the exciting future.