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Penfolds

Since 1844, Penfolds has played a pivotal role in the evolution of winemaking with a history and heritage that profoundly reflects Australia’s journey from colonial settlement to the modern era. Penfolds collection of benchmark wines were established in a spirit of innovation and the constant and endless pursuit of quality, evidenced from the secret bottling of Grange in 1951 and the unbroken line of vintages of what is now Australia’s most iconic wine. Today, the collection continues to display the distinctive and consistently recognizable Penfolds ‘House Style’; the ultimate expression of Penfolds time-honored tradition of sourcing the best fruit from the best regions. Historic blends, significant milestones and heritage vineyards have been honored by a lineage of custodians whose courage and imagination, precision and humility have ensured Penfolds remains true to its original values while remaining relevant for current and future generations. The stories and philosophies behind each label bring a timeless quality, making Penfolds wines special and compelling for collectors and drinkers the world over.

‘1844 To Evermore!’… It was the slogan to launch a winemaking legacy. Through a union of passion, commitment, courage and patience, this winemaking legacy flourishes throughout the world today. For 170 years, Penfolds has cultivated a reputation on winemaking excellence; achieved through a unique alchemy of distinguished vineyards and viti-cultural caretakers, exceptional winemaking resources and a rich history of outstanding winemakers. These master craftsmen and women have served as silent custodians of the Penfolds stable, an Australian tradition steeped in wine lore and the spirit of generosity. As well as honoring traditional winemaking values, Penfolds cultivates a spirit of experimentation and innovation, as evidenced from secret ‘bottlings’ such as Grange in 1951. Through the passing of time such innovations have become the great traditions for new generations. Today, 170 years from its initial declaration, Penfolds winemaking legacy continues and the house remains one of Australia’s most revered … now and ‘evermore’.

EWAN PROCTOR
Penfolds Ambassador and Head of Luxury Education

Paul Hobbs Vintner Honoree 2017

Ewan Proctor is a multi-award winning hospitality and wine industry professional with 20 years of international experience across a broad spectrum of the food and beverage world. His expertise ranges from boutique wineries to luxury brands, exotic destination cruising and 6 star resorts to rustic contemporary regional dining.

Ewan received his initial training at some of Sydney’s most acclaimed dining venues, alongside chefs and sommeliers who were at the heart of the emerging modern Australian cuisine.

Moving to Melbourne, Ewan quickly began to gather awards from the Australian press, winning Best New Restaurant at Bistro Guillaume at Crown Casino in 2009. After a couple of vintages focusing on Pinot Noir at Tarrawarra Estate (Yarra Valley) and Bass Philip (Gippsland) Ewan made an international move, taking the helm of a specialist importer of wines for the Maldives resort market. Returning to the Yarra Valley, Ewan successfully guided the Healesville Hotel to Best Regional Restaurant status, winning a record three-in-a-row Best Beer List titles along the way.

Ewan joined Penfolds as Head Sommelier of Magill Estate Restaurant in 2013, and relished the opportunity to team with Australia’s most iconic wine brand. Ewan’s dynamic way of presenting the full cellar of wines spanning 6 decades of Penfolds history, helped to place the Magill Estate Restaurant among the top 10 restaurants in Australia.

In February 2015 Ewan joined the Shanghai office of Treasury Wine Estates as Penfolds Brand Ambassador for Greater China, becoming North Asia Head of Education in April 2016. Highlights of his time in Asia included two Global Launches of the Penfolds Collection in Shanghai and Hong Kong, re-corking clinics in Taiwan, Singapore and Tokyo, and launching the 100-point multi-vintage sensation G3 in October 2017.

Ewan is thrilled to be Penfolds Ambassador and Head of Luxury Education and enjoys connecting with new partners and consumers. Ewan holds degrees in Communications and International Studies from the University of Technology, Sydney and the University of Genova, Liguria. Italy, and is fluent in Italian, French and English.

PENFOLDS BACKGROUND

Penfolds is one of Australia’s oldest and most iconic wineries, with a history and heritage that reflects the country’s journey from colonial settlement to the modern era. Penfolds has played a pivotal role in the evolution of winemaking in Australia – and across the world.

THE COLONIAL PERIOD (1844 – 1899) Penfolds was founded in 1844 by Dr Christopher Rawson and Mary Penfold. English immigrants, they arrived in Adelaide only eight years after it was founded as South Australia’s capital. After purchasing the ‘delightfully situated and truly valuable estate’ at Magill on the slopes of the Adelaide Hills, they planted a vineyard and established a medical surgery in the newly built stone cottage ‘The Grange’. Already wine was considered by colonial practitioners as a healthy drink. Penfolds tonic wines became so popular that a thriving wine business was soon established. By 1881 Penfolds was producing one third of South Australia’s wine production. During the turn-of-the century Penfolds wines reached some of the furthest corners of the British Empire. It became Australia’s largest producer of fortified wines by the time of Australia’s Federation in 1901. Although Dr. Christopher Penfold is recorded as the founder of Penfolds, he was busy building a medical practice and prescribing Penfolds wine as tonics to his patients. It was predominantly his wife Mary who managed the vineyard, made the wine and established a thriving wine business. She was one of Australia’s first and most successful business women. The memory of Dr Christopher and Mary Penfold is immortalized in the Penfolds name. The remnants of the Grange vineyard at Magill Estate still stand, centered on the historic Grange Cottage, with superb sweeping views across the modern city of Adelaide, South Australia.

THE EMPIRE PERIOD (1900–1945) During the empire period, Penfolds expanded its vineyards and became a household name across Australia. It exported table and fortified wines to the British Empire and its outposts. Max Schubert – a then young inquisitive winemaker – travelled to Europe after World War II to investigate winemaking where he dreamed of making wines that would capture the imagination of wine drinkers the world over. The mission was to learn about sherry production but a side trip to Bordeaux led to the extraordinary development of Penfolds Grange and the commercialization of dry red table wines.

THE DYNASTIC PERIOD (1945–1989) The birth of Grange in 1951 lead to a remarkable collection of wines that bought Penfolds worldwide recognition for their signature style, consistency and longevity. By the early 1960s Schubert oversaw the creation of ‘a dynasty of wines which may differ in character from year to year, but all bear an unmistakable resemblance and relationship to each other’. Bin 128, Bin 389 and Bin 707 and St Henri were all commercialized during this period. This signature method of winemaking, developed and refined over decades, is known as the ‘Penfolds House Style’ and is still practiced today. Under the successive chief winemakers, Don Ditter, John Duval and Peter Gago, the Penfolds collection of wines has remained true to the original blueprint.

THE MODERN ERA (1990S– TODAY) During the 1990s an unprecedented number of new styles were introduced to the Penfolds collection. This was also a period of intense winemaking trials and commercial opportunity. The ‘white Grange’ project spawned the creation of Bin 144 Yattarna Chardonnay in 1995 (released in 1998). Wine trials, including the ‘experimental/homage’ Special Bin releases of 1990 Bin 90A, 1990 Bin 920 and 1996 Block 42, also led to the launch of RWT Shiraz, an ultra-fine Penfolds Barossa Shiraz, matured in French oak. During the 1990s, Penfolds introduced the Re-corking Clinics, a unique and revolutionary after-sales service, where wine collectors can have their aged wines – particularly Grange – assessed, re-corked, topped up and re-capsuled. Today, more than 120,000 bottles have been ‘cliniced and certified’ throughout Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Europe, the Americas and Asia. Penfolds also celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of Grange in 2001 and in a remarkable gesture, the National Trust of South Australia, listed Grange as a Heritage icon. The 2000s saw an expansion and consolidation of the Penfolds wine portfolio, to meet the needs and interests of a global premium wine brand. The range today reflects Max Schubert’s ambitions of a dynasty of wine without compromise. Penfolds received a long line of awards and accolades during the 2000s. In 2005 the US Wine Enthusiast magazine named Peter Gago its ‘Winemaker of the Year’ and in the same year Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine, led by Grange, recognized the history and popularity of the company’s core range of fine wines. In more recent times 2008 Grange received a perfect score of 100 points by two of the world’s most influential wine publications, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator magazine. In 2011 Penfolds Reserve Bin 09A Chardonnay won the International Wine Challenge Champion White Wine award. In 2013 the prestigious Wine and Spirits magazine included Penfolds as a ‘top winery of the year’, for the twenty-third consecutive year - more than any other winery in the world.

Continuing a tradition of innovation and experimentation, in 2012, Penfolds launched its highly ambitious ‘Ampoule Project’, a limited-release offering of twelve hand-blown glass ampoules, containing the celebrated 2004 Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon. The Ampoules attracted worldwide attention and a little controversy. Pushing the boundaries of contemporary winemaking for the sake of improvement is a longstanding Penfolds tradition. Penfolds enjoys a unique Australian heritage; its wines evoke an ageless generosity of spirit, craftsmanship and the beauty of the Australian landscape. As Chief Winemaker Peter Gago says; ‘the wine always come first’. It is this enduring principle and generosity of spirit, handed down by generations of winemakers, in the vineyards, the wineries and the markets, that gives Penfolds wines a unique and timeless quality.

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