End of era for Fords

FAMILY: Bob Ford and Tony Ford sample some riesling in the Boston Bay vineyards.
FAMILY: Bob Ford and Tony Ford sample some riesling in the Boston Bay vineyards.

Some of the oldest vines in Port Lincoln are up for grabs as the owners of Boston Bay Winery are selling the business and looking forward to the next stage of their lives.

Deciding to venture to Port Lincoln from Sydney’s Warriewood Beach in 1982 because work as an underwater construction worker in Sydney was drying up, Graham and Mary Ford packed their four children Bill, Bob, Cathie and Tony in a car to test their luck on the Eyre Peninsula.

I don’t think we’ve ever had a dud wine - my father didn’t bottle anything he wasn’t proud of...it’s been a wonderful, wonderful journey.

Tony Ford

After purchasing an abalone license to make a living from the sea, Graham and Mary bought and developed the winery and established the first vines and cellar door in 1984.

Vigneron and abalone diver Bob Ford, who looks after the block and tends to the vines, said himself and his three siblings were getting older and were looking to move on from the place. 

He said the vines were some of the oldest in Port Lincoln and the second oldest commercial vines in the region, second to the vines at Peter Teakle Wines which were about six months older.

“We’ve been here 35 years and we’re all getting a bit old,” he said.

Chef Tony Ford said the first wine produced by the family was their 1987 Boston Bay Rhine Riesling which had a run of 2400 bottles.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had a dud wine - my father didn’t bottle anything he wasn’t proud of...it’s been a wonderful, wonderful journey,” Tony said.

“I might not have as many hangovers as I normally have.”

Tony said he felt “empty and hollow” about selling the business, but added it had been an “incredible” experience working with his family over the years.

He said there had been about “200 to 300” weddings at the winery over the years.

“Every event is different and special,” he said.

Tony said he would continue cooking but would focus more on his comedy career once the venue sold.

“I hope whoever buys it has big, big dreams and just goes for it,’ Tony said.

“It could be a Jacob’s Creek type success.”

Tony thanked the Port Lincoln community for being so supportive over the years and also those who helped out on the fields picking and helping around the winery.