Lindeman's Ben Ean set for centenary

LINDEMAN’S Ben Ean is marking its centenary with the unveiling this month of a heritage cairn for its old still house, built in 1907.

Stonemason Ken Fletcher sculpted the cairn, which will be unveiled on Saturday, August 25, to acknowledge the distillery as one of the Hunter’s icons of history.

Built by John McDonald in 1907, the still house operated until 1963 to make brandy spirit which was used to produce fortified wine.

When winemaker Karl Stockhausen arrived at Ben Ean in 1955, the still had been operating on and off and there was a stock of brandy in barrels in the store attached to it.

Mr Stockhausen, who operated the still in the early 1960s, remembers it was very old and had problems with losses.

A steam-generated colonial boiler situated in the winery heated the still.

As is stands today, the still has a replica column and carry over, which were replaced to assist with the losses but never actually used, while the pot remains as an original part of the still house. It is no longer operational.

The still site is acknowledged as a landmark of historical importance that has influenced the course of, or made a significant contribution to, the Hunter’s wine industry.

The celebrations will continue on August 25 with a dinner for past staff and supporters of the cellar door.

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