The Hamilton Hamper not only has a quality range of hampers, homewares and gifts but also a great selection of local wines. So, we wanted to share with you the individuals and businesses behind The Hamilton Hamper’s wine collection, beginning with Hamish Thomson, the western-Victorian Rep for the award-winning Best's Wines.
The history of this world-class business dates back to 1866 when Henry Best purchased 30 hectares of land in the small town of Great Western, 230km north-west of Melbourne. This property, Concongella, had the first vines planted in 1868 and became a functioning winery in 1871. Meanwhile, Scottish born William Thomson also settled into the Great Western region and purchased a winery in Rhymney in 1893. Henry Best trademarked ‘Best’s Great Western Wines’ in the early 1900s and passed away not long after in 1913. In 1920 his son Charles sold the business to Frederick P Thomson (William Thomson's son). The Thomson family took over Best’s. And, 156 years later, Best's Wine boasts a historical collection of Australia's oldest and most significant vineyards, as well as producing acclaimed wines loved all over the world.
When talking to Hamish Thomson (yes, he is part of the original Thomson bloodline that bought Best's Wines), he mentioned now the business has four vineyards, three in the Great Western area and one at Lake Boga in the north of Victoria. But it is the original Best's block that is the most invaluable. "Best's old and first planted vineyards are among the oldest and rarest pre-phylloxera plantings in the world. The nursery block contains almost 40 varieties alone, and some are unidentified to this day," says Hamish. However, it is not easy keeping the legacy on track; the Thomson's face the changing weather, high winds, hot and dry days, and regular frosts at the original Concongella vineyard, which changes the taste and flavour of the wines. Also, consolidating on the recent domestic growth and customer approaches developed through the last pandemic has come with its own challenges. Yet, Best's Wine's continues to create a divine and delicious product that is enjoyed across Australia and the world.
Now, when chatting with a wine connoisseur, it would be madness to leave the conversation without enquiring about their favourite wine. So here it goes, Hamish Thomson's go-to drop, "Pinot Meunier is the family favourite; it is incredibly drinkable and has the ability to age. Plus, it was among the original varieties planted, and dad and grandpa made the first single varietal wine from it in 1967."
Our very own Bridget has been a long-time customer of Best’s Wines and was overjoyed when Hamish took on the role of western-Victorian rep and recognised that The Hamilton Hamper was the type of business that suited their divine products. Hamish went on to say that “I love her support for local producers, in particular the small to medium ones. Her shop is diverse and they really go out of their way to provide a high-end service to the town.”
Thank you, Hamish, for an insight into your rich family history and the creation of Best's Wines. We are lucky to have such quality wine close by and implore your thinking, that if regional businesses are not supported locally, it can make it hard for them to succeed. So if you haven't already, make sure to pick up a bottle of Best's Wines; our personal favourite is the 2019 Bin 1 Shiraz. Or, if you're in the area, book a wine tasting and trial them all!
Hamish Thomson's Top local picks:
A place to stay: Allanvale Homestead
A place to eat: Salingers Cafe
Of course shop and eat: The Hamilton Hamper
A place to explore: The Great Western Bike Trail
Match the tasty Best's Wines with Paella