This wine is a tribute to Winemaker, Simon McGeorge’s pioneering ancestors who were gold dredgers in the Otago region of New Zealand’s South Island. Each bottle of Lady Ranfurly wine records the remarkable rags to riches story of the now legendary McGeorge brothers.
The back label reads:
“The story of the McGeorge brothers and their Kawarau river gold dredging exploits is one of enterprise, grit and a dash of good fortune. Overcoming a harsh climate and treacherous waters, in July 1902 the Lady Ranfurly dredge extracted 1,234 ozs. of gold in a week; a world record that still stands. Now, over a century later, a new generation of McGeorge brothers are proud to release Lady Ranfurly Central Otago Pinot Noir; a wine that reflects the dogged attitude of our forefathers and the environment that forever changed their lives.”
The Lady Ranfurly Gold Dredge
Alexander “Alex” Crow McGeorge (4 August 1868 – 14 January 1953) was a New Zealand engineer and gold dredging entrepreneur, contributing to the Otago gold boom of the 1890s.
McGeorge was born in Dunedin on 4 August 1868 to Scottish parents, James McGeorge and Isabella Crow. McGeorge, along with his brothers John, Joseph and James, founded the Electric Gold Dredging Company in 1895, one of the most successful gold-dredging companies in New Zealand.
(McGeorge’s mother, Isabella Crow, and sister, Jane, were both signatories of the 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition.)
The McGeorge brothers’ most famous gold dredge was the Lady Ranfurly, named by the then-present Governor of New Zealand, Uchter Knox, 5th Earl of Ranfurly after his own wife on a visit to Cromwell on 12 March 1898.
The Lady Ranfurly dredge made the best returns for the company, recovering 1234 ounces (over 38 kg) of gold for the week ending 7 July 1902 and 1273 ounces (almost 40 kg) over 4 and a 1/2 days dredging in November 1904.
The company and its operations were eventually split into two parts and publicly listed. Shortly after this event the McGeorge brothers took less of a ‘hands on’ role as their gold dredging interests moved further south.
They purchased land in the Waikaka Valley of Southland and between 1902 – 1923 operated three gold dredges as the McGeorge Brothers Gold Dredging Company. More about the history of the McGeorge Brothers can be found here: http://memorybank.co.nz/site/topics/show/40-mcgeorge-brothers-gold-dredging