Tahbilk unveils the James Halliday Cellar

By J'aime Cardillo

13 Feb, 2023

Tahbilk has named a cellar in James Halliday's honour.

It’s no secret there’s a strong bond between Tahbilk and James Halliday. It's so strong, in fact, that the winery has named a cellar in James' honour.

The James Halliday Cellar has been in the works since 2019, says Alister Purbrick, fourth-generation family member, board member and former winemaker and CEO. But with the pandemic and lockdowns the event that was originally slated for 2020 and then 2021 was pushed until today, February 13, 2023.

For Tahbilk, the James Halliday Cellar is a small token of gratitude to James, who used his writing and influence to introduce the world to Australian wine.

James Halliday and Alister Purbrick unveiling the James Halliday CellarJames Halliday, Alister Purbrick and Jet at the unveiling of the James Halliday Cellar.

"I had to massage him into the idea," says Alister. "He pushed back initially, saying 'Oh, no, I appreciate my relationship with the family, with Tahbilk, and all you and I have done for the industry, but you don't need to name a cellar after me.' So it took me a bit of time to convince him that it was more than appropriate. It was the family's wish and he could push back at the family, if he liked, but good luck." 

Alister recalls the many Tahbilk milestones James has been present for: "Celebrations for my grandfather's 80th back in 1983, our 125th anniversary in '85, our 135th...then the big one, our 150th. He's been there for all our vertical tastings and a number of other family functions. It's been a pretty close relationship over a very long period of time."

Tahbilk wineryTahbilk in Nagambie Lakes.

If you've visited Tahbilk in Nagambie, you've probably come across a plaque or two around the estate (Alister calls it the "plaque obsession"). Each plaque honours long-serving staff members, or buildings opened by prime ministers, premiers or federal ministers.

Aside from James, the only other person with a dedication outside of those themes is fellow wine giant, and James' great friend, the late Len Evans, who had the estate's Museum named after him at Tahbilk's 135th anniversary celebrations back in 1995.

Tahbilk is also celebrating the 75th anniversary of Eric Purbrick's first flagship range. Today's unveiling ceremony also included a tasting of more than six decades of the Eric Stevens Purbrick Shiraz and Cabernets, and the very last of the famed Bin 26 Cabernet Sauvignon from 1962.

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