The original label above was part of a group of labels that had been in a printers sample folder from Niven & Co, Ballarat. The various labels dated from the late 1880s to about 1903 and the Federation promoting Australian Coat of Arms on this one put it firmly in the 1890s to early 1900s period. On first glance the name of the proprietor appears to be Gambella but further research confirms that Peter Gambetta was the vigneron in question.
From the Horsham Times, Tuesday 9th June 1931, Page 4.
“The death occurred on Friday, at the age of 89 years, of one of Stawell’s oldest residents, Mr Peter Gambetta, who has been a resident of this district for more than half a century. Born in Ticino, Italy. Mr. Gambetta came to Victoria 71 years ago and was one of the hardy pioneers who took part in the Stawell gold-rush. Satisfied with the prospects offered by this district after the goldfields had ceased to boom, the late Mr. Gambetta applied himself to the wine business, and became a successful vigernon, planting St. Bernard vineyard on the Campbell’s Bridge road in 1871. At other times he engaged in farming and grazing, and at the time of the gold-boom he had carried out a great-deal of carting from the Darlington, Deep Lead and other mines to the Welshmen’s Battery. The late Mr. Gambetta finally retired about 14 years ago, settling down after his retirement in Stawell.”
Once popular on sideboards and behind bars across Australia, decanters were a prime way to advertise alcoholic beverages of all kinds. Most large Australian wine companies from the 1890s to the 1930s produced this kind of advertising glassware with a few still producing these items into the second half of the twentieth century.
The style of manufacture suggest most of these decanters were produced in England or France. It is likely however that the advertising was then added locally usually in one of three styles: Acid etched, engraved or as applied enamel lettering.
To highlight the advertising many of the engraved or etched decanters had gold or red paint added to the lettering. While the enamelled decanters usually just have white lettering other colours are also sometimes seen such as red, black and blue.
As you might expect one of the difficulties of collecting decanters is finding examples with their original (or at least fitting) stoppers. On the plus side the price of these rarely exceeds a good modern decanter and with a bit of a clean can make a great talking point the next time you serve a nice old wine!