SA Winery Wins Big In France With A Special Feature Film

Leconfield Wines prove that they are more than just stunning wine, with their South Australian made feature film about the interesting history of the Hamilton Family

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SA made wine industry feature film ‘Wine Line – The Hamilton Story’, last night won a second international film and media award – this time in France at a formal ceremony held at the magnificent Palais du Luxembourg in Paris.

The awards to date are:

Trophy for The Best International Film – 22nd Festival Oenovidéo * in France

Finalist, Society & Social Issues Category – New York International Television and Film Awards

Bronze medal for Cinematography – 2014 Cinematographer Awards Australia

The development of SA’s Wine industry unfolds in the film on the Hamilton Family, spanning 176 years of South Australian life & times, both social and industrial. ‘Wine Line – the Hamilton Story’ is a 55-minute dramatised documentary film that highlights surprising human relationships and coincidences that underpinned the success of the family’s wine ventures – and the unheralded technical benefits they brought to the Australian wine industry.

It takes viewers on a journey through the history, life and times of early SA settlers – the Hamilton Family – one of whom arrived on the first ship in the new colony in 1836. The whole family arrived in 1837 and became founders of Hamilton’s Wines. Film research uncovered family history that had been lost in time and has amazed viewers with its rich links to Australia’s wine Industry of today and the technology that the Hamilton brothers Sydney and Eric brought to the industry after WWII.

The documentary started as a corporate video production for Dr Richard Hamilton’s Leconfield Wines business, but as the family history was unearthed the project grew rapidly to a feature film reflecting six generations of a significant SA family.

Adelaide surgeon Dr Richard Hamilton is the great-great-grandson of the original founder Richard Hamilton and was asked to play that role in the movie. Leconfield is a family wine business owned by Dr Richard Hamilton and his wife Jette. It encompasses two of SA’s leading wine labels, both attributable to descendants of the Hamilton family – Leconfield Wines at Coonawarra, and Richard Hamilton Wines at McLaren Vale.

With a strong wine industry heritage dating from 1837, the family developed a distinguished international reputation for elegant fine wines. Dr Hamilton, who is both a wine maker and a leading cosmetic reconstructive surgeon with a busy practice at suburban Goodwood, personally funded the film and also played the role of his great-great grandfather Richard – growing a beard and taking acting advice from Light Image Films director Rick Cavaggion. Ten professional actors and up to 90 extras from family and friends played roles in the movie.

“It was a passion of mine to see a way of telling the story of a unique family history after 175 years. I knew this was the time to act and what we came up with was a remarkable motion picture in which we had to recreate fascinating historic facts that were uncovered,” Dr Hamilton said.

It chronicles through live re-enactments the history of the family through the 19th and 20th centuries at suburban Marion, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra wine regions. In the process it uncovers some amazing suburban treasures at Marion & Glengowrie (former home of the winery) that were believed destroyed. Wine Line – The Hamilton Story has everything over the turbulent generations… including cameos relating to WW1, WW2 and how those cataclysms delivered by chance some incredibly skilled people to the Hamilton business which built one of the biggest wineries in Australia and created an export industry for fine SA wines.

Film maker Martin Gordon of Light Image Films, of Hindmarsh, was expecting to create a basic corporate history on the companies owned by Dr Hamilton, but, “It turned out to be such a remarkable story, that it grew like topsy, it is not just about the family, it’s a parallel of SA History that rolled out before us. There’s the over-arching story leading from the first Richard Hamilton in 1837 through to the current Richard, but inside that you have a story about a remarkable wine, Hamilton’s Ewell Moselle, that changed Australia’s drinking habits.”

Discovering long forgotten winery history including a massive underground cellar hidden in suburban Marion, only a few kilometres from the Adelaide CBD, was just a part of the unexpected magic that transpired from a decision to make a documentary on the Hamilton Family winemaking dynasty. The feature docu-drama was launched with a premiere screening at the Capri Cinema before more than 300 guests on the exact day 176 years after Richard Hamilton, a tailor from Dover, England, set foot in Australia.

The film shows dramatically and with a sense of fun how the Hamilton family has grown with South Australia to being a leader in wine technology, particularly through the two brothers Sydney and Eric Hamilton – one the self taught wine technologist and hands-on winery builder, and the other a marketing guru who travelled the world selling the company’s products. It features old family movie footage and is cleverly entwined with dramatic re-enactments at the old family home at Marion and wineries in SA.

Find out more about Leconfield Wines here.

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