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Biographical entry Wynn, David (1915 - 1995)

22 January 1915
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
18 February 1995
Mountadam, South Australia, Australia


David Wynn was one of the greatest contributors to the Australian wine industry. He is credited with introducing the flagon and the wine cask which today has captured a large percentage of the Australian wine market (around 48% of the market in 2002). After World War II Wynn took over the running of his father's Melbourne wine merchants business (S. Wynn & Co.) and started commercially producing wine. In 1948 he established Australia's first contour-planted vineyard (Modbury, South Australia) and in 1951 he introduced the term 'Estate' to the Australian wine industry when he bought out the John Riddoch winery and vineyards in Coonawarra, renaming it Wynns Coonawarra Estate. Today wine is still produced under the Wynn label but the company is no longer in the hands of the Wynn family.


Although living in Melbourne, David Wynn was sent to study bacteriology and accountancy at the University of Adelaide and winemaking at the Romalo Magill wine cellar. These skills were needed to help in the running of his father's wine merchants business S. Wynn & Co.. Samuel Wynn had been involved in the wine industry in his native Poland before arriving in Australia in the early 1900s. While in Australia Samuel continued with his love of wine and eventually saved enough money to buy his own wine shop. His business grew steadily and David Wynn was put in charge of its blending and bottling operations after he completed his studies.

When World War II broke out David Wynn enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force. After the war he returned to Melbourne to take over the running of the family business. Under his control the company developed its own vineyards in South Australia and wine-making business. The first grapes grown by the company were semillon and Riesling. Wynn also introduced a 2.27 litre Wynnvale flagon which soon became a substantial seller in the Victorian wine market.

In 1951 Wynn, against his father's wishes, bought out John Riddoch's Chateau Comaum winery renaming it Wynns Coonawarra Estate. With a vigorous marketing and inventive bottle labelling Coonawarra wines established itself as a major player in both the local and international wine industries. The company produced wines for both the upper and lower ends of the market. In 1970 Wynn bought the exclusive rights to the Airlesflo tap which he used to develop the wine cask. The wine cask has become an Australian icon and another Wynn success story. That same year the business had grown so much that Wynn Winegrowers Ltd was established and put on the public stock exchange. Within two years the company was bought out by Castlemaine Tooheys. In 1993 David Wynn's contributions to the Australian wine industry were recognised when he was awarded the prestigious Maurice O'Shea Award.

Published resources

Journal Articles

Newspaper Articles

  • Halliday, James, 'Obituaries: Vigneron invented the wine cask', The Australian, 28 February 1995. Details

Online Resources

Annette Alafaci