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The winery is located in McLaren Vale (South Australia) in Australia. It was founded in 1853 by Thomas Hardy (1830-1912) who immigrated from England. He had previously worked for three years at the Reynella Winery and had also tried his hand at gold digging and cattle driving. With the money he earned, Hardy bought a 46 hectare plot of land on the banks of the River Torren near Adelaide and named it Bankside. A year later he made a modest start by planting 0.8 hectares of oranges and 0.3 hectares of Shira vines. In 1857 the first wine was produced and as early as 1859 two large barrels of wine were sold to England. Hardy thus became one of the first exporters of Australian wine. The purchase of the Tintara Winery in 1876 laid the foundation for a larger scale wine production. Today one of the wine lines bears this name (see below). The first awards were given at international wine fairs in Bordeaux in 1882 and Paris in 1889. Until the end of the 19th century Thomas Hardy & Sons expanded to the most important Australian wine producer through constant growth and acquisitions. Because of his great merits, Thomas Hardy was called "Father of the South Australian Wine Industry".

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