The Story of Birth of An Iconic Winery- Peter Lehmann Wines

Reading success stories of winemakers who have made it big due to their steel-like determination inspires us to excel in our work domains. This article is about one such winemaker who got initiated into business for the sake of helping the grape growers. The name is Peter Lehmann. The brand is currently a part of the Casella Family but has a long history of its own.

Peter Lehmann was an ordinary person and life was as usual till 1947. This year was the first turning point in his career since he left school to take up winemaking apprenticeship. It was at Saltram winery where he took up the role of winemaker and manager in 1959. Another major turning point in his career happened in the year 1977 when Saltram refused funding for his 1978 vintage. In that year, there was a surplus growth of grapes and not providing funds for winemaking would have meant that the fruit would have gone waste. This plight of growers was not missed by Peter Lehmann who was determined to help them. He left the job and accumulated funds from different quarters to begin winery operations at a small scale. In this way, what could have been an unfortunate event was averted and turned into the birth of new winery. The first name of this enterprise was ‘Masterson Barossa Vignerons’ and it was born in 1979. The name was changed to Peter Lehmann wines in 1982. In 1987, first Stonewell Shiraz was developed. In the very next year came Clancy’s brand.

Douglas Lehmann became CEO in 1990. In 1991, the first Mentor Cabernet was launched. Stonewell Shiraz got featured in Langton’s classification in 2000 and it received the ‘exceptional’ rating. Peter Lehmann dies in 2013 and in 2014 his brand was taken over by Casella Family Brands. Nigel Westblade was appointed Chief winemaker in 2017.

Peter Lehmann has following wine range and these wines come from vineyards of Barossa Valley:

  • Stonewell
  • VSV
  • Masters
  • District
  • Futures
  • Hill & Valley
  • Portrait
  • Sparkling
  • Clancy’s
  • Art & Soul.

Today, Peter Lehmann is a reputed wine brand not just in Barossa or Australia but also internationally.

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Glimpses into Glaetzer Wines

Glaetzer wines is a renowned name in Barossa valley. Initiated by Colin Glaetzer, this wine label is now a product of pride in Australia. It shall be noted that Barossa valley is a famous and one of the oldest wine regions of Australia. This is one wine region which has given many famous wine labels in Australia. Wines of Glaetzer brand come from the vineyard which is located in the warmer northern part of this region. This sub region is called by the name of Ebenezer. Ebenezer is characterized by topography which comprises of well drained sandy loam soils over limestone stone. These conditions are ideal for the growth of Shiraz wines. Another key point to note is that the vineyard from where the fruit is sourced is at least 80-100 years old. The fruit is not derived from the grafted vines but from the original plantings which are one of the oldest of the region. It is also a fact that the fruit of the region is low-yielding. Typically, one acre of land area growing vines here produces 0.5 to 1 tonnes of fruit which is, otherwise, 2.5 to 3 tonnes in a acre in young vines.

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With such careful selection of vineyard and wine region, Glaetzer wines have been able to develop into a top brand in Australia. Top Glaetzer wines are: Amon-Ra, which is a Shiraz variety; Anaperenna, that is a Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon blend; Bishop, which is also a Shiraz; and, Wallace, which is a Shiraz and Grenache blend. The previous years famed wines from this label were  and Ebenezer wines which were made by the patriarch- Colin Glaetzer. Colin, and later on his son Ben, were awarded with the title of Barons of Barossa for their work in wine industry and cultural promotion. Ben was also awarded as Qantas Young Winemaker of the Year.

Malbec Around the World

malbec-sign

Malbec is to Argentina as Shiraz is to Australia. This clearly defines the importance of Malbec wines in Argentina. However, this red wine grape is not grown only in Argentina. It is also grown in different parts of the world, including Australia. In fact, it is believed to have originated in France, and from there, it was introduced in Argentina by Michel Pouget in 1868. The wine is known for its dark fruit flavours, plump and smoky finish. The style of wine varies from region to region and this makes Malbec wines from some regions more in demand than the others.

Malbec Wine – Australia

In Australia, this grape is grown in 560 hectares of land area. 3000 tonnes of grapes grown on this area were crushed in 2016 with one-third of these coming from the cool climatic regions of the country. The vineyard area under Malbec has seen sharp increase since 2010. This grape is grown in almost equal proportions in five different wine regions- Riverland, Limestone Coast, Riverina, Clare Valley and Padthaway. The Malbec wine of Australia is exported mostly to United Kingdom and price of bottled wine which is exported the most varies from A$5 to A$ 7.49 per litre.

Malbec Wine – Argentina

In Argentina, the Malbec vines occupy an area of more than 20000 hectares. These grow in small clusters which have smaller berries and come in tighter clusters. The Malbec of Argentina is deep in colour and fruity flavours. These also have good ageing potential than the French ones.  The regions which is particularly noted for growing of Malbec grape variety is Mendoza region.

Malbec Wine – France

In France, Malbec grapes are grown in Bordeaux region. At one point of time, the grape was so popular in France that it was grown in 30 departments of France and had more than 1000 names. However, with the passage of time, its importance declined and it gave way to Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The stronghold of Malbec is the Cahors region where it is required by law to be present at least 70 percent in wines with remaining being Tannat and Merlot.

Henscke Wines- Fine Wine Making Since 6 Generations

The stories of winemakers are fascinating and inspiring. These show how efforts of not one but many generations have gone into the wines which are famous brands today. One such story is of Henschke family. To this date, it is their sixth generation overseeing creation of finest Henschke wines in their own tradition. This write-up will briefly touch upon their history, mention their wine range and where are grapes of these wines grown.

Lets first move back in history to the year 1841, when the first patriarch Johann Christian Henschke moved from Kutschlau in Brandenburg province to South Australia on a 98 day ill-fated voyage which saw death of his wife, son and daughter, but two sons survived. Families of his other two brothers also moved with him and got settled in South Australia. After Johann, the next generations that were at helm of affairs were led by following people:

  • Paul Gotthard (added Hill of Grace vineyard to the family estate),
  • Paul Aflred Henschke (extended vineyards further, added underground storage and focussed on fortified wines),
  • Cyril Alfred Henschke (added fermentation cellars which are present today, phased out fortified wines, brought in dry table wines, was one of the founding fathers of Barons of Barossa and pioneered introduction of varietal and single-vineyard wines),
  • Stephen Carl Henschke (introduced German techniques in process refinement for wine making), and
  • Johann Stephen Henschke

Henschke has produced one of the most popular wines of Australia. It has four vineyards from where its grapes come. These are:

  • Hill of Grace
    – Shiraz is the most dominant variety planted here. Riesling, semillon and mataro are also planted in small quantities.

    – Iconic wines of this region are: 2010 Hill of Grace and 2009 Hill of Roses

  • Mount Edelstone Vineyard
    – Shiraz is the variety grown here. This is home to greatest single vineyard wines of Australia.

    – Famous wine from this vineyard is the 2012 Mount Edelstone

  • Eden Valley
    – This vineyard is known for growing a number of grape varieties. These include Semillon, Riesling, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewürztraminer, Viognier, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Barbera, Graciano, Nebbiolo, Tempranillo and Muscat Blanc

     

    – Popular wines of this region are: 2012 Keyneton Euphonium, 2012 The Rose Grower, 2014 Eleanor’s Cottage, 2016 Julius, 2015 Peggy’s Hill, 2016 Joseph’s Hill, 2015 Tilly’s Vineyard, 2014 Louis, 2012 Cyril Henschke and 2012 Keynetone Euphonium

  • Lenswood

    – This vineyard is used for planting a number of varieties, such as Chardonnay, Semillon, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Merlot.

    – Popular wines of this region are: 2015 Archer’s Vineyard, 2012 Abbotts Prayer, 2015 Coralinga, 2015 Croft, 2013 Giles, 2012 Alan Reserve, Johanne Ida Selma Blanc de Noir MD, 2016 Green’s Hill,

Pepperjack Shiraz- Jack of All Shiraz Wines

pepperjack-shiraz-2015-barossa-valley-211x763This is a shiraz which you must try at least once, if not tried before. And, if you have tried once, you will surely go for another one. Pepperjack Shiraz is a product of Barossa Valley, one of the oldest wine regions of Australia. This brand was initiated under winemaker Nigel Dolan who made it quite famous. The present wine maker is Richard Mattner.

The key noteworthy point in this wine is the fact that this has been oaked in barrels of three countries- America, France and Hungary for more than 12 months.

The wine has been made with a 14.5% alcohol content which makes it a high alcohol content wine. The wine was first released in 2011 and it won the prestigious 2013 Visy Great Australian Shiraz Challenge Trophy in 2012.

The wine is one of the most searched ones in Australia which proves that this is a wine which is being looked for by people who have or have not drunk it before.

Why Tempranillo is Becoming Popular?

In a recent analysis of the vineyard areas under different wine-grade grape varieties in Australia, it came to light that some of the less popular varieties are fast becoming important. One of these varieties worth noting is the Tempranillo red grape.

As per the statistics available from Wine Australia, the area under this grape was just about 100 hectares in 2001. In the 15 years, it has grown astonishingly to reach about 700 hectares in 2015. This has been a massive 600% jump in a span of about 15 years. While the growth was more consistent from 2001 to 2008, it picked up really fast after 2008 and 2010 onwards, the area under it grew exponentially.

Is this trend just a coincidence or is there something in it which points to changing grape profile of Australian landscape? As per a research conducted on the wine grapes growing in different parts of the world, noted wine economist Kym Anderson of University of Adelaide noted in 2014 that area under Tempranillo has increased many folds. In fact, the area under it has grown so much that it has become the world’s 4th most planted variety of grape in 2010 as compared with its 26th position in 1990.

Tempranillo has achieved this distinction because most of its production is centred in Spain only with 90 percent of wines coming from this country. Now, Spain is also a country where there is a shortage of water. Therefore, the vines are planted farther from each other as compared with other regions of the world where water is in appropriate supply. This increases the vineyard area under Tempranillo more than other varieties. (read more at: https://www.ft.com/content/8c02ba0a-3aa5-11e4-bd08-00144feabdc0)

But, this does not deny the fact that Aussie Tempranillo wines are increasing in importance as winemakers look to new varieties. Tempranillo grapes also ripen easily and are able to withstand oak aging much better than other varietals. Thus, these find good use in making different types of wines.

Cab Sauv Wines – Australian Facts and Figures

While Shiraz is the king of wine grapes in Australia and is the dominant variety, Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most widely grown varieties across the globe. The global area under Cab Sauv wine grape and its global production overwhelm the same parameters of Shiraz on a world scale. In Australia, Cabernet Sauvignon plays second fiddle to Shiraz.

Land area under this grape variety is given in the chart below. As can be seen that this is the second most important variety after Shiraz both in terms of area and production.

Variety Area

(in ‘000 hectares)

Crushed

(in ‘000 tonnes)

Shiraz 39.89 395.2
Cab Sauv 24.68 202.7
Merlot 8.48 111.5
Pinot Noir 4.96 43.2
Grenache 1.51 13.0
Tempranillo 0.74 5.6

The difference between the Cab Sauv vineyard area and Shiraz area is not so much as is the difference between Merlot and Cab Sauv. What is worth noting is the fact that the area under this grape has remained more or less consistent since 2001 whereas those under other varietals has shown fluctuation (either increase or decrease). Some of the lesser known varieties, such as Tempranillo and Malbec have shown considerable increase in area. This is a testimony of their growing importance over time.

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are mostly grown in the Riverland, Murray-Darling basin, Riverina and Connawarra wine regions of Australia. Riverland area accounts for almost one third of the land area under this grape variety.

Low cost Cab Sauv wines in price band of A$2.5 to A$5.0 per litre are also exported to USA, China, UK and Canada. These price range bottles account for about 60 percent of the total volume of cabernet sauvignon wines that are exported.