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June 27, 2024updated 04 Jul 2024 2:11pm

Penfolds: 180 years of fine winemaking in pictures

By Sponsored Content

As Penfolds celebrates its 180th anniversary, we look back at the personalities and events that shaped Australia’s most celebrated fine wine producer through its long and distinguished history.

Penfolds has a long history of white winemaking dating back to the 1800s. Co-founder Mary Penfold won a trophy for her pioneering whites wines in 1890. The engraving on the trophy reads “White Wine of Light Character” “Mary Penfold & Co.” Today, Penfolds White Winemaker, Kym Schroeter, continues this award-winning white wine legacy.
Mary Penfold’s desk.
In the heart of the Adelaide Hills, the entrance to the Penfolds Magill Estate winery in 1920, 76 years after Dr Christopher and Mary Penfold arrived in Australia from the UK with a vine cutting and a bold vision.
Herbert Leslie Penfold-Hyland was the grandson of Penfolds founder, Dr. Christopher Penfold, and was known to be a keen golfer and a car enthusiast. This advertisement from the 1930’s is thought to be his brainchild and was used during Penfolds Royal Easter Shows in New South Wales.
One of the most important figures in the history of Penfolds is Max Schubert, Penfolds first Chief Winemaker and the creator of Grange. Schubert’s importance to the Australian wine industry was cemented when he was included in the Sydney Morning Herald‘s 100 most influential Australians of the century, published in 2001.
The Penfolds team during classification in the late 1950s with Max Schubert (centre) and to his right, Jeffrey Penfold Hyland, Magill Estate’s Assistant General Manager who was instrumental in helping Max and his winemaking team from hiding the experimental bottles of Grange from senior management during the 1950s.
In 2012, King Charles and Queen Camilla—Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at the time—called in at Penfolds’ Magill Estate during a stop in South Australia as part of a tour of Commonwealth countries to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. They sipped a glass of the ultra-rare 1962 Bin 60A while sampling a selection of South Australian food. It was reported that the future king described a risotto prepared by schoolchildren as “frightfully good.”Chief winemaker Peter Gago was surprised they actually drank the wine, rather than simply smelling and sipping it. “They absolutely loved it,” Gago revealed. Photography by Milton Wordley.
In 2012, Penfolds released a limited edition glass Ampoule, containing the 2004 Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon, a rare wine in a truly distinctive format, with only 12 handmade vessels in existence. When the decision is made to open the ampoule, a senior member of the Penfolds Winemaking team will personally attend a special opening ceremony for the owner.
Peter Gago in 2023, high in the Shangri-La mountains in China, one of the territories in which Penfolds is now making wine. Penfolds released CWT 521 (China Winemaking Trial) in 2023, the first wine from China to be released as part of the annual Penfolds Collection, sitting alongside Penfolds wines from Australia, California and Bordeaux.
Key to the success of Penfolds over the last 180 years has been a lineage of visionary winemakers. The current Penfolds winemaking team, led by Chief Winemaker Peter Gago, has more than 200 years between them as Penfolds winemakers. They are constantly refining and improving their work, whilst honouring the winemaking techniques of their predecessors. They are amongst the most accomplished and boundary-pushing winemakers in the world today.

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