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Posted: Wednesday, 20 September 2017 12:26

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Penfolds Grange has a Story in Every Bottle

Sep 20: Australia’s most famous global wine brand Grange has announced launching online video series ‘A Story in Every Bottle’ in which stories of different collectors have been unearthed, in collaboration with National Geographic, with 10 videos already loaded on their website Penfolds.com, Facebook, Instagram, National Geographic and digital display advertising on the likes of Fairfax, Yahoo and News Corp.

Click For Large ViewThe series, called ‘A Story in Every Bottle’, is a long-term branded content partnership between Penfolds and National Geographic to showcase a collection of human tales of personal memories and connections around the Treasury Wine Estates-owned iconic label- ranging from births, marriages, love and friendships, restaurant cellaring and generally life built around the international re-corking clinics across Adelaide, Sydney, Hong Kong, London, New York, Vancouver and Singapore.

Each episode features the owner of a vintage Penfolds wine, who shares their story with chief winemaker Peter Gago. Ten of the 12 videos already shot are already uploaded, the balance two from Singapore will be uploaded in December-January, according to the company.

As delWine has always maintained and propagated about the beauty and unique charm of every high quality wine- from vine to the bottle, the journey of grape into wine is a story in its own right. At a Re-corking Clinic new stories emerge from the wine owners. The notion that every bottle has a story continues to hold true, according to Peter Gago, Chief Winemaker of Penfolds. “As winemakers, it is so meaningful and rewarding to meet collectors and share their personal story of their wine’s journey,” he says. While each wine is from a different part of the world, the stories share a common Penfolds Grange thread.

Story of Grange

Max Schubert, creator of Grange studied about wines on his own and got a job with the company as a messenger boy in 1931. By 1948, at the age of 33, Max Schubert had become Penfolds’ first Chief Winemaker. Respecting the tradition and long history of winemaking in Europe, he was sent to Europe in 1950 to study those practices in Spain & Portugal. Schubert took a side trip to Bordeaux and was inspired and impressed by the French cellared-style wines and he started dreaming of making something different and lasting. Back in Adelaide for the 1951 vintage, he started looking for the appropriate raw material for this wine and he picked Shiraz.

Combining traditional Australian techniques, inspiration from Europe and precision winemaking practices developed at Penfolds, Schubert made his maiden experimental wine in 1951. He was invited by the top management, wine personalities and personal friends to showcase this wine. To his horror the Grange experiment was universally disliked and he was asked to shut down the project. However this made him even more determined to succeed.

Max continued to craft his Grange vintages in secret, hiding three vintages ’57, ’58 and ’59, in the cellars. Eventually the Penfolds board agreed to start the production of Grange for the ‘60 vintage. From then on, international acknowledgment and awards were regularly showered, including the 1990 vintage of Grange which was named Wine Spectator’s Red Wine of the Year in 1995. Grange 1952 was the first vintage to be released commercially. However, 1955 was the personal favourite of Max Schubert; it was also the most decorated vintage.  

Grange’s reputation as one of the world’s most celebrated wines continues to grow. On its 50th birthday in 2001, Grange was listed as a South Australian heritage icon. Barring the difficult 2011 vintage, all vintages have drawn accolades from wine experts. In fact, the 2008 Grange achieved a perfect score of 100 points from the two most influential wine magazines- Wine Spectator and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

The 60- year old Peter Gago who was named 'Winemaker's Winemaker of the Year' by a panel of international winemakers, the Institute of Masters of Wine and The Drinks Business magazine at ProWein in 2012 has been the Chief Winemaker since 2002 and is the protagonist of the current series of videos based on re-corking clinics

Re-corking Clinics

Addressing the issue of cork life which is generally accepted as 15 years on the average, Grange decided in 1991 to set up re-corking clinics across major cities in the world. The service was inspired by Max Schubert who would re-cork old vintages for his friends. Since their inception, over 130,000 bottles across four continents have been brought to these complimentary clinics and checked by the winemakers.  

At a re-corking clinic, the Grange collector can have one-to-one chat with the winemaking team including Peter Gago. If required, they open and visually inspect the wine, assess the quality, top up, certify, and re-capsule the bottles, stopping any further deterioration due to leakages. The service is available for all Penfolds red wines, aged fifteen years or older. Next Re-corking Clinic will be held in Singapore on November 14.

Penfolds wines were earlier being imported into India by Mohan Bros. But since last year the complete portfolio has been shifted to Brindco which had organised last month a tasting of a few select Penfolds wines including Grange, in different cities-Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. They held Master-classes and Launch dinners in these cities.The 2008 and 2010 Grange were also tasted at these events.Grange is obviously available on Allocation. Brindco gets only 120 bottles.  

The videos have been uploaded on www.penfold.com. For one such video, click HERE.

Subhash Arora

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