Vale David ODea – The Scream
Windowrie Wines founder James David ODea OAM passed away last week at the age of 91.
His family have issued the following obituary in memory of the man who played such a pivotal role in the development and success of the Cowra and Canowindra wine regions.
James David ODea OAM: Born December 17, 1939, died May 7, 2021
David was born and raised in Sydney, spending much of his childhood on the family dairy farm in Richmond. David attended Hawkesbury Agricultural College and, after completing his education, purchased Windowrie in 1959.
David married Wizz Hegarty in 1964 and they settled in Canowindra creating a mixed farming operation. David and Wizz had four children, Steph, Doe, Jason and Nook.
David and Wizz were very active members of the local community, establishing the Cowra Eagles Rugby Club and helping to start the Canowindra Pythons Rugby Club. David was president of the Canowindra Show Society for over ten years and was very active in the society before and after that time.
Canowindra was home to the leading drug rehab facility âLyndon House,â a non-profit service for families struggling with drug problems. David was passionate about the establishment and was the first chairman of the board, remaining in office for many years, ensuring the continued survival of the establishment.
David has often said, “If we can make a difference in a young person’s life and avoid the terrible impact drug use can have on family and friends, it is worth the effort.”
David’s pioneer in the midwest wine industry was of great economic importance to the region.
After several years of difficult environmental conditions, a farm review with advice from the Orange Agricultural College was completed. Following this review, David made a decision that would change the management of the farm forever.
David sold 50% of the wheat and sheep farm and used the funds to invest in a trial plantation of stone fruit and wine grapes. David said of this period: âIt was a huge bet, and many thought I was crazy. When you love the land so much, you’re willing to do almost anything to stay in the game. â
David and Wizz were the first to plant wine grapes in the Canowindra area. They further consolidated their place in the industry and the local wine region by developing the region’s first winery in 1999.
David has remained active with the company until the last few years and said, âIt is wonderful to be involved in such a dynamic industry. I am very proud of our family business and excited about the great team we have and the direction of the business.
David was recognized for his tireless work and staunch commitment to the wine industry and the local community with an Order of Australia medal in 2021.
David’s life will be celebrated at Canowindra Catholic Church on Thursday, May 13 at 12:30 p.m.