S C Pannell
Stephen Pannell was born with wine in his blood. His parents are wine legends Pamela and Dr. Bill Pannell, who pioneered Western Australian viticulture, founding Moss Wood in Margaret River in 1969 - the regions second oldest vineyard. They also established Smithbrook Wines in the late 1980's, the first major vineyard in the Pemberton region, and Picardy Wines with Stephens's brother Daniel in 1993, also in Pemberton. Stephen followed in the family footsteps. He studied viticulture and oenology at Roseworthy and, after graduation, travelled widely, including Burgundy, Bordeaux, Priorat, Barolo and numerous Australian wineries, gaining experience and knowledge from every place, eclectically informing his winemaking. In 1995 Stephen began work at Hardys in McLaren Vale in South Australia, and became Chief winemaker. He remained with them for nine years, developing an intimate knowledge of the region’s vineyards and sub-regional differences. Then in 2004, Stephen founded his own label with his wife Fiona Lindquist. Stephen had fallen in love with McLaren Vale and he sought to express the full potential of this region. The proximity of the Indian Ocean creates a cooling effect here with considerable meso-climate variations, and Stephen aims to emphasize the importance of these vineyard differences. In 2012 he acquired his own 36 hectare vineyard in the Blewitt Springs area of the McLaren Vale, and has since broadened his range to craft wines from the adjacent Adelaide Hills region. Stephen is naturally curious to explore, loving the unusual, and so you will see Nebbiolo, Touriga Nacional, Fiano, Tempranillo, Montepulciano and Aglianico in his exciting portfolio. Stephen's philosophy is that he likes to make wine that other people will want to drink, and he likes to make wine that goes with food, with a sense of place, celebrating provenance. Stephen's winemaking approach is low-intervention, native yeasts, open top fermenters and judicious use of large format neutral oak to mature the wines - not to flavour them - wanting to retain the natural profile of the fruit. Pannell is one of Australia's most talented and imaginative winemakers, garnering an impressive raft of accolades: the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy twice (Australia's most prestigious wine award); McLaren Vale Bushing King four times; Max Schubert Trophy twice; International Red Winemaker of the Year and Decanter Magazine's 50 Most Influential Contributors to the World of Wine! The unusual bottle labels were designed by Stephen's friend, graphic designer Melanie Leš. During a meeting to explore labels, Stephen laid out some designs on the floor, and his hands were “flapping all over the place”. Melanie drew a sketch to illustrate how Stephen was hands-on, influenced by paper cuts she had seen in Poland. The labels are as distinctive and attention-grabbing as his wines!