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Penfolds

Penfolds was founded in 1844 by English-born Dr. Christopher Rawson Penfold and his wife Mary with vine cuttings from France brought over on the voyage when they emigrated to South Australia. They bought 500 acres of land at Magill for £1,200 and built a small wooden shack, which they replaced the following year with a stone cottage, calling it The Grange, after Mary's former home in Northumberland. The first wines were prescribed as tonics for Dr. Penfold's patients, especially recommended for those suffering from anaemia. The business grew along with the doctor's reputation and Mary ran much of the winery, assuming total responsibility after her husband's death in 1870. She was a self-taught winemaker who insisted that the wines be made to her own personal taste. Mary retired in 1884, leaving her daughter Georgina and her husband Thomas Hyland to manage the business. By that time Penfolds was producing a third of South Australia's total wine production, and by 1907 it was the region's largest winery. In 1948 a man became Penfolds first Chief Winemaker whose name would propel them onto the world's stage and global recognition – Max Schubert, who created Penfolds now legendary Grange in the 1950's. In 1949 Schubert went to Spain to learn more about fortified winemaking, and also visited Bordeaux, where he tasted the red wines from some of the first growth estates. On returning to Australia, he wanted to craft a wine that could age like the wines he had tasted in Bordeaux, capable of improving in bottle for a minimum of 20 years and rival the greatest Clarets. However, his wine was not a blend of Bordeaux varieties but made exclusively from Shiraz. He called the wine Grange Hermitage, a combination of the name of the Penfold family cottage and what the Shiraz grape variety was called in Australia at that time. Schubert's first release was not well received by Penfolds (it was too young), and he was ordered to stop production. But the innovative Schubert believed wholeheartedly in his vision and carried on making the wine in secret. When it was tasted again it was met with much more favourable opinions; the quality of the aged wine won them over and in 1960 he was given the go-ahead to officially resume production. The awards rolled in and Grange has become an Australian icon, given a heritage listing in South Australia on the 50th anniversary of its birth. In 2021 a 1951 Grange became the most expensive Australian wine ever to be sold, fetching $142,131 AUD at auction. Penfolds are also famous for their wines identified by bin numbers. This tradition started in 1959, when Kalimna Bin 28 (from the Barossa Valley's Kalimna Vineyard) became Penfolds first official Bin number wine, named after the storage area in the cellar where the wine aged. Penfolds are one of Australia's most famed and respected producers. They craft a range of distinguished wines for every occasion, with consistent quality that runs through their entire portfolio from entry level to the celebrated icon wines.