In 1970 Jim Hardy was controlling the helm of Gretel II off the coast of Newport Rhode Island. Gretel’s owner Sir Frank Packer the Sydney media baron was challenging again for the America’s Cup.
Probably as good as it gets if your sole ambition in life was to go sailing.
Jim did go sailing a lot more. Sydney to Hobart. Four Admiral’s Cups in the UK and two more America’s Cups. He was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1994.
But Jim had a day job too. He was, and indeed still is, the great grandson of Thomas Hardy who arrived in South Australia from England in 1850.
By now anyone who loves wine will have put the two together. The Hardy family would be globally recognised if they had only pursued one dream. But they have magnificently combined both sailing and wine. The Hardy name was recently judged the second most powerful wine brand in the world. And Jim (now Sir James, knighted for services to yachting in1981) is often to be seen fearlessly challenging the winds on Sydney Harbour on board ‘Nerida’ a beautiful 45ft gaff rig cutter commissioned by his father in 1932.
The young Thomas Hardy started work with South Australia’s first winemaker John Reynell. His first vintage under his own name was poured in1857 and two hogsheads were exported to England. In 1882 he was awarded his first gold medal at a Bordeaux wine show.
140 years on, Hardy labels are loved around the world, from entry level wines to some of Australia’s finest such as the Thomas Hardy cabernet and the Eileen Hardy range.
Recently they honoured fifth generation Bill Hardy who has worked for the firm since 1972. His selection of two whites and two reds, sourced from districts acknowledged as superior for particular grape varieties, carry the William Hardy brand.
For more on the story of a family that over 160 years has achieved excellence in two pleasurable pursuits go to www.hardys.com.au