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The cultivation of grapes in Western Australia is as old as European settlement. The first vines were planted near Fremantle in 1829, shortly after the establishment of the Swan River Colony, while the first wine was produced at Olive Farm near Guildford in 1834. During the nineteenth century only a limited area of land was under vine with only very small scale commercial production taking place, mainly in the Swan Valley.

It was not until the first decade of the twentieth century that the production of wine grapes took off. In 1895, only 240 hectares of land under vine produced 225,000 litres of wine.  By 1905 production had increased to 837,000 litres, and by 1918 almost 1,200 hectares were used for vineyards. 

After the First World War the Swan Valley was subdivided for vineyard settlement by ex-servicemen and immigrants of Southern European origins, and farmers throughout the Upper Great Southern and the South-West began planting currant or wine grapes as a sideline.


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