PENFOLDS had been producing fine fortified wines for almost a century before the advent of a shift in winemaking philosophy that would have a profound effect on the Australian wine industry even today.
Building on the ground-breaking work of the legendary Ray Beckwith, who’s research in the 1930’s and 40’s into overcoming bacterial spoilage and stability problems laid the framework for a shift into high quality dry table wines, the winemaking team of the day set out on a vinous voyage of discovery that would re-write the rules of Australian wine.
Initiated by the legendary Max Schubert, refined by those who followed him and enhanced by every member of the winemaking team, the PENFOLDS ‘House-Style’ was developed and is as instantly recognisable today as it was in the 1950s and 1960s.
PENFOLDS perfected the practice of multi-regional blending in the belief that overall wine quality was paramount, while at the same time recognising regionally distinctive wines like Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz and Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz, both launched from the 1962 vintage, well before the trend towards regional identity took hold in the wider industry.
When Max Schubert began experimenting with completing ferments and then maturing in new oak, few producers in the world followed the practice but it is now a technique adopted by many.
The culture of winemaking innovation and exploration at PENFOLDS has also been instrumental in developing and refining yeast technologies, varied cap management techniques, fermentation temperature regimens, rack and return practices and most significantly, partial barrel fermentation.
All this has resulted in a unique and distinctive winemaking signature of which every member of the PENFOLDS winemaking team is immensely proud.