Brands Laira is today widely regarded as one of the region’s best plantings of Shiraz. With Shiraz being the only wine grape planted in Coonawarra from 1900 to 1950, the variety has played an important role in establishing Coonawarra’s international reputation as Australia’s pre-eminent red wine region.
Eric and Nancy Brand purchased the Laira Vineyard and adjoining property in 1946; and over the next decade extended the vineyard to 23 hectares of vines. The first wine sold under the Laira label was released in 1966. Fruit from this century-old Original Vineyard is still used today in the production of the Brand’s of Coonawarra Stentiford’s Reserve and Patron’s Reserve.
McWilliam’s Wines purchased a 50 per cent share of the Brand’s Estate in 1990 and the remaining 50 per cent in 1994, with Eric and Nancy’s sons Jim and Bill Brand retained as winemakers. McWilliam’s Wines is today one of the largest landholders in Coonawarra, with almost 300 hectares of mainly cabernet sauvignon and shiraz vines. In recent years the company has extended the Estate to include the 165 hectare Station Block and 100 hectare Kirkgate vineyards.