Penfolds makes Australia’s most renowned wine – Penfolds Grange, a Shiraz-based wine that was inspired by Rhone Valley’s Syrah blends. Grange was introduced in 1951 by Max Schubert, the legendary Penfolds winemaker in the middle and later years of the 20th century. As a wine producer, Penfolds’ history dates to the mid-19th century, when a young English physician named Dr. Penfold migrated to Australia and started producing wine as boon to the health of his patients. Until World War II the winery specialized in fortified wines and brandy, but Schubert helped turn Penfolds into a successful producer of table wines, including Grange and Bin 707, a Cabernet Sauvignon. Today the company is owned by Southcorp Wines and produces many grape varieties, including Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Chardonnay along with Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Annual production of Grange is 8,000-10,000 cases. Annual production of Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon is 10,000-14,000 cases.
South Australia is the nation’s most important wine region. South Australia is to Australia what California is to the U.S. About half of Australia’s wine comes from South Australia and many of the country’s most acclaimed producers are there. Wineries based in South Australia include Penfolds Grange, Torbreck, Amon Ra, Henschke and Jacob’s Creek. The prestigious Barossa Valley is located in South Australia, and is often compared to Napa Valley because it is gorgeous topography covered in grape vines. First farmed by 19th century German-speakers who immigrated from what is now Poland, the Barossa Valley is the crown jewel of the region. South Australia has widely varying climates, from very hot, dry areas to cooler, high altitude areas. There are more than 150,000 acres of vineyards in South Australia, with more being planted each month. Shiraz is king, though the region also produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Mourvedre, Chardonnay and Semillon.