Piesse Great Southern Winery
The former Piesse Winery is significant to the commercial history of the Katanning region, with the wines made at the vineyard receiving many awards and accolades.
The winery is also significant architecturally for its unique design.
There is also a high social value associated with the winery, in that it was owned and operated by the very well-known pioneering Piesse family.
It also provided much seasonal employment in the local community.
The Piesse family had established vineyards on their property as early as the 1890s.
It was not until 1902 that the family employed a winemaker, Carl Bungert, who was selected by A. Piesse who was visiting South Australia.
The original winery was erected in 1904 using bricks from the Piesse brickworks.
A brick distillery with a basement cellar was added in 1910 and this is the only remaining structure. The tower housed four water tanks.
The wine was very successful and not only was supplied to surrounding districts, but was also sold overseas.
Wine was exhibited at the Perth Agricultural Society’s Show and in 1904 it was awarded the Ferguson Challenge Cup and, in 1908, the winery received a gold medal at the Franco-British Exhibition in London.
Although the wine was to win many other awards, the death of F H Piesse in 1912 and eventful family mismanagement caused the Piesse family to sell off much of its property in the early 1920s.
The wine cellar casks and tools were sold to New Norcia and to South Australia.
It is believed that the vines contracted a disease not uncommon to wine producing vines. The family had a number of circumstances to contend with after the death of FH Piesse and it appeared they lost interest in the affairs of the business.
The situation may have been beyond their control at the time.
In 2004 the Historical Society of Katanning decided to sell the Winery.
It was bought by A and M.E. Fritz, descendants of the Piesse family.
The only remaining structure is the brick distillery in Federation Warehouse style, the design of which is reminiscent of a battlement tower with its castellated parapets.
The semicircular openings have triple-header course arches.
Several fires have destroyed much of the rest of the vineyard.
A few vines have been planted although they are not being grown for wine production – aesthetic.
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