Colin Raymond GRAMP AM

GRAMP, Colin Raymond

Service Number: 417832
Enlisted: 18 July 1942, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Pilot Officer
Last Unit: No. 461 Squadron (RAAF)
Born: Tanunda, South Australia, 4 October 1921
Home Town: Tanunda, Barossa, South Australia
Schooling: St Peter's College, Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Apprentice Winemaker (G. Gramp & sons)
Died: Natural Causes, Tanunda, South Australia, 7 August 2020, aged 98 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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World War 2 Service

18 Jul 1942: Enlisted Adelaide, South Australia
18 Jul 1942: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer, 417832
19 Jul 1942: Involvement Pilot Officer, 417832, No. 461 Squadron (RAAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45
6 Mar 1946: Discharged

Colin Gramp - Oral History

In 2018 I had the privilege of interviewing Colin and hearing a few of his stories and life experiences.
Below is a link to this interview. Christian Teusner.

Raising a Glass to Wine Pioneer

COLIN Gramp was best known for pioneering a cold-pressing technique used to create Barossa Valley sparkling riesling in the 1950s.

He launched his winemaking career in 1947 by creating some of the first modern Barossa table wines.

At the time, about 80 per cent of wine grapes were being made into fortified wine.

But Colin, after beginning his winemaking apprenticeship in 1940, gained valuable knowledge while travelling to California , France and Germany to become one of the Australian industry pioneers.

Born and raised in the Barossa , Colin was immersed in winemaking from an early age; his father was fellow winemaker Hugo Gramp. Colin’s earliest memories included watching his dad crush grapes.

He began his education at Rowland Flat School, spent his first year of high school at Nuriootpa and then completed his studies at St Peter’s College.

Colin’s interest in winemaking was sparked while at St Peter’s , encouraged by the rich history of his family tradition.

Its connection to Barossa Valley wine dated back to 1847, when his great-grandfather , Johann Gramp, planted vines at Jacob’s Creek. Johann had moved to Australia from Bavaria in 1837.

Colin’s grandfather, Gustav, started G. Gramp & Sons, which would incorporate Orlando , then become Jacobs Creek in the 1970s.

While still at school, Colin’s world was turned upside down in 1938 when his father was killed in a plane crash, along with 13 others, just outside Melbourne . Colin, 17, heard the news on the radio in the boarders’ common room just after school had finished for the day.

“I was completely shocked,” he told wine writer Tony Love in 2017. “But I didn’t want to be seen crying in front of the other boys, so I went out to the back of the schoolhouse and sat down on the pavement and had a good cry.”

The next day, Colin was shocked to receive a final letter from his father, sent not long before he got on the plane.

Hugo’s best friend, Rudi Buring, took Colin under his wing following the crash.

Colin told journalist Katie Spain earlier this year how important Rudi became.

“I can remember the day of (my father’s ) funeral; Rudi introduced himself to me and said, ‘Colin, I’m here to look after you’ ; and he certainly did,” Colin said.

Colin met his future wife, Josephine , at a ball in 1940, but they would not marry until Valentine’s Day, 1946.

Colin’s winemaking apprenticeship and romance was interrupted by World War II.

In 1942, he joined the air force as a gunner in the 461 Squadron. He began flying in March 1944, with a rank of flight sergeant with just 85 hours’ flying experience. However , he would go to complete 49 missions.

Upon returning from the war, Colin rekindled his winemaking career at Gramps Orlando , pioneering the first vintage Orlando Special Reserve Claret made from shiraz and cabernet sauvignon grapes.

In 1953, technical advances helped Colin’s team perfect the light sparkling wine with which his name has become synonymous , Barossa Pearl, first sold in 1956.

Colin recounted in 2014 how they invented a new technique of fermenting riesling using temperature and pressure.

“We revolutionised white table wine made in the Barossa Valley,” he said.

The wine sold “in the tens of millions” , wrote Tony Baker in his book, The Orlando Way.

In 1962, Colin established the Steingarten riesling vineyard after visiting Germany’s Mosel Valley. The grapes were grown on cold, rocky slopes, causing them to fight for survival . This had the effect of producing high-quality , intense fruit. G. Gramp & Sons was sold in 1976, becoming the powerful Jacob’s Creek winery.

Colin ran the Weinkeller Restaurant from 1972 until 1983. This became St Hugos, named for Colin’s father. The first St Hugo wine range was released in 1983. Its Legacy Collection included the 2013 The Last Letter cabernet, named after the letter Colin received after his father’s death.

In 1986, Colin was named a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of his service to wine industry technology.

He is survived by Josephine, three sons and a daughter.

Extract: Adelaide Advertiser Obituaries

Copyright © 2020 News Pty Limited

Showing 2 of 2 stories


World War 2 Service

"RAAF air gunner Colin Gramp was an apprentice wine-maker before joining the RAAF in July 1942 at the age of 20. He trained at Victor Harbour, Ballarat and Sale before sailing to Britain. He completed No 29 Course at Coastal Command’s No 4 Operational Training Unit at Alness in Scotland and, with his crew, joined No 461 Squadron in March 1944 with the rank of flight sergeant. At that time he had 85 hours flying experience, of which 75 hours was on Sunderlands. During his tour at No 461 Squadron he flew 550 hours in 49 operational sorties, as well as 190 hours of non-operational flying." - Norman Ashworth, 'The Anzac Squadron' Ch.10, p.187

Service Medals:  1939-1945 Star, Atlantic Star with France Germany Star Bar; Defence Medal; War Medal 1939-45; Centenary Medal.


09 Jun 1986 - Awarded Member of the Order of Australia -  In recognition of service to wine industry technology


06 Jul 2015 - Awarded Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur - ...for outstanding service to the Republic ...who risked their lives in the service of France during the Second World War.



[excerpt from ‘Who’s Who in Australia 2014’]

Eldest son of Louis Hugo Gramp and Caroline Hulda Braunack, born  4 October 1921.

Educated: St Peter’s Collegiate Adelaide,  and Roseworthy Agricultural College.

Service: RAAF 1942-46

Career: Company Director and Winemaker (retired) - Technical Director G Gramp and Sons Pty Ltd 1947-74, and Winemaker since 1946 – introduced cold and pressure fermentation of table wines and pearl wine respectively into Australia 1953 and 1956 ; Trustee Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society SA 1984-97, Chairman 1975-77, Council Member 1947-97; Foundation Member Probus Club (Barossa) since 1983, Wine Fraternity Barons of Barossa since 1975, Rotary Club Barossa Valley since 1956, Member Gawler Further Education Centre Council 1976-79, Restaurateur Vigneron and General Manager Gramp’s Weinkeller Restaurant 1972-83, Founding President Barossa Winemakers Association 1971-73, Member Adelaide Wine Show Committee 1947-97 and Chairman 1971-82, Executive Member Wine and Brandy Producers’ Association SA Inc. 1971-72, Foundation Member Barossa Valley Bacchus Club 1950-2007, Barossa Valley Vintage Festival Association Inc. 1947-75; Inaugural Life Member Australian Wine Industry 2003.

Married Feb.14 1946 Josephine Homburg , daughter of  F Homburg OBE and V M A Nettelbeck; children, 3 sons and 1 daughter.

Recreation: photography, wildlife preservation.

Address: 12 Greenwood Lane, Tanunda, South Australia 5352


Personal Stories

Referring to my role as an Airgunner on a Sunderland Flying Boat, please refer to Norman Ashworth’s book “The Anzac Squadron”, Hesperian Press, pages 69 and 73 to 74.