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The Thomson Family

William Thomson, born in Paisley, Scotland in 1847, arrived in Australia as a child. By 1893, William left his business as a temperance baker and purchased an orchard, vineyard and working winery at Rhymney, 13 kilometres south west of Great Western, building a new homestead with his 16 year old son Frederick Pinchon Thomson, which they named St Andrews.

The Great Western district was spared of worldwide grape disease phylloxera – which was wiping out other Victorian vineyards at the time. Their winery prospered during 1893 to 1900. William returned to Melbourne and the baking business, leaving an ambitious Frederick in charge of the winery. In 1920 after Henry Best’s death, Frederick purchased Best’s Great Western for ₤10,000.

Frederick’s two sons, third-generation Thomson’s Frederick (Eric) Thomson and William (Bill) Thomson took over the running of Best’s in 1949. Fourth-generation Eric Vivian (Viv) Thomson, a Roseworthy graduate, completed his 50th consecutive vintage at Best’s in 2010. His son Ben, became Managing Director and vineyard manager in 2008, carrying on the family tradition of taking the reigns from his father.

Now, more than 140 years later, Best’s Great Western is in the hands of our fifth generation, Ben Thomson, who is passionate about maintaining the historical vineyards, many dating back to the 1860s.  With a love of the land and a fascination for applying new viticultural and harvesting techniques, you’ll often find Ben driving the tractors throughout the Best’s regional vineyards, tending to the vines and researching some of the more unique varietals planted. And for a change of landscape, Ben is also a keen water skier throughout the summer months – one of Ben’s best kept secrets.

Photogallery rendered here.