One of the important names in Australian wine history. Thomas Hardy, of Honiton in Devon, arrived in Australia in 1850, first working for John Reynell and then in various ventures. He married his cousin, Joanna Hardy, and bought a property near Adelaide, which he called Bankside, making his first vintage in 1857. In 1859 Hardy shipped two hogsheads back to England – this may have been the first bulk shipment of Australian wine to the home country. In 1876, Hardy bought Tintara, a vineyard near McLaren Vale.
This had been previously developed by Dr Kelly, an important writer on vines and winegrowing and an excellent winemaker, who had unfortunately gone bankrupt. From the first purchase of Tintara, Hardy extended his business, buying more vineyards and extending his winery and storage cellars. Hardy died in 1912 and, during his lifetime, he had made a giant contribution to winemaking, as well as exerting influence in many other spheres. McLaren Vale honoured him with a monument which, authority Len Evans relates, is possibly the only memorial to a winemaker in Australia.
The Hardy family continued the expansion of the already great wine business, buying Waikerie on the Murray River and Dorrien in the Barossa Valley. The original Tintara ceased to operate in 1926, but the activities were moved to another of the first Thomas Hardy installations – the Mill Cellars, converted from an old flour mill. Further extensions of Hardy holdings are going on all the time. Hardy’s holdings in the Swan Valley of Western Australia are important, Houghton Supreme being well known.The McLaren Vale red table wines enjoy a particular reputation for quality. The Hardy family are still in the business.