The great 18th century German poet Johann Von Goethe once commented that “life was too short to drink bad wine” and Reiner agreed. He took up this phrase and made it his own, quoting it whenever the occasion permitted.
Reiner was an energetic promoter of excellence in wine making as its own reward. He knew that great wine could only come from exceptional grapes so he worked the vines for quality and not quantity, shoot thinning and hand harvesting as necessary to ensure the best from each vine. Reiner had built his electronic business importing the best quality Hi Fi technology from around the world and his winery would be no different. Long Gully was one of the first wineries in the Yarra Valley to install what was then cutting-edge Roto fermentation equipment and a state-of-the-art GAI automated bottling line.
In the heady days of the winery’s success, Long Gully wines were served on all Ansett Airline flights for nearly a decade and specially labelled Red and White Long Gully wines were served in the Victorian parliamentary dining room. The winery received numerous awards and accolades for their exceptional wines, winning 9 prestigious trophies and a tally of gold, silver and bronze medals numbering in the hundreds
Reiner passed away in 2009 and sadly over the ensuing years the property suffered significantly from under investment and neglect. By 2017 it had become quite clear that if Long Gully was to ever flourish again it would require a substantial capital injection and a renewed vision. With that capital injection not forthcoming, the property was reluctantly placed on the market.
In 2019 the property was purchased by a partnership of two families. The Magdziarz family and the Lopes Family together forming “The Long Gully Estate Partnership.”
In 1972 Reiner Klapp, founder of Klapp Electronics, and his wife Irma, purchased their 40 hectare weekend retreat in the picturesque foothills of the Great Dividing Range on Long Gully Road just west of Healesville. Little did they know then, that this decision would become the beginning of a whole new life for them and they certainly had no idea that they would go on to become major contributors to the rebirth of the wine industry in the Yarra Valley.
For the first ten years they grazed cattle on their weekend ‘hobby farm’ but by 1982 they could no longer ignore the enormous potential for their property to produce top quality grapes.
The initial planting was a total of only 2.2 hectares consisting of Riesling, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Further plantings over the ensuing years added Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Viognier, eventually bringing the total plantings to nearly 30 hectares.
Long Gully Estate grew to become one of the larger ‘boutique vineyards’ in the Yarra Valley, building their own on-site wine making facility and crushing around 100 tons of grapes every vintage.