BEFORE University of Newcastle history lecturer Dr Julie McIntyre researched her 2012 book, there were holes in the history books.
We knew wine came over on the First Fleet in 1788, though records after that were few and far between.
Dr McIntyre said she was interested in wine at the start of her research, however, she soon fell in love with it.
"I wanted tell a part of a story that had never been told before," she said.
Her book First Vintage: Wine in Colonial New South Wales was shortlisted for the 2013 NSW Premier's History Awards in recognition of high standards in historical research.
The meticulous research for which the book was nominated included analysis of a collection of colonial business records from Newcastle in the 1870s.
The records were donated to the NSW State Library after being discovered four years ago, dumped at Cessnock.
Dr McIntyre said colonial business records in themselves were rare, let alone of wine sales and exports.
She said the records detailed how a Mr E. H. Timmins sold local wine for what is today known as Wyndhams Estate, to ship captains docked in Newcastle harbour.
According to the documents, in the 1870s Mr Timmins exported local Hunter wine in bulk from the Newcastle Port to Hong Kong, San Francisco and French Polynesia.
His office was on Bolton Street, near where The Star is today.
Dr McIntyre's book was up against two others in the community and regional history category.
While she did not win, Dr McIntyre said being shortlisted was a great honour.