In our first SA Winemaker Spotlight feature, we sat down with highly respected Senior Winemaker Andrew Hardy from Petaluma Winery. Petaluma Winery was founded in 1976 and has had a long and remarkable history of being one of the ultra-premium wine producers in SA. Andrew Hardy has been at the helm since 2004, and began his winemaking career at Petaluma in 1982 working with founder Brian Croser before travelling to work on vintages abroad in Oregon & Bordeaux. During his previous time at Knappstein Winery he was awarded the Warren Winiarski Trophy for Best Cabernet in the World. His passions outside of winemaking include playing golf, fishing, and is an avid old British Motorcar enthusiast.
What makes the Adelaide Hills such a great place to make cool climate wines? The Adelaide Hills has such a wonderfully diverse range of climates and sub-regions, so can produce an amazing variety of wine styles. From elegant refined sparkling wines and Chardonnay in the Piccadilly Valley to great big traditional reds from the northern end, the Hills has great diversity.
While Petaluma is well known for Riesling, have you seen increased demand for your cool climate Chardonnay & Shiraz over the last few years? Are local consumers moving towards more elegant styles of wines? Certainly cool climate Chardonnay demand is growing, from the Hills but also from the cool regions around Australia. Shiraz is still dominated by wines from the Barossa and McLaren Vale, but wine tourism is growing in the Hills, and more people are learning about and enjoying cool climate Shiraz. Elegance and finesse in reds is beginning to be appreciated.
How does the use of these Adelaide Hills sub regions benefit the two wine varieties mentioned above? The Chardonnay is grown in the coldest , wettest region of the Hills, the Piccadilly Valley. Combined with the ancient soils, the sub region helps provide the luscious white peach, nectarine aromas and flavours found in our wines. The B&V Shiraz hails from the eastern edge of the Hills, and is much drier and warmer. The resulting Shiraz is elegant and has a wonderful spicy palate with hints of black fruits and pepper. We would not grow Chardonnay at Mt. Barker, nor would we get Shiraz ripe in the Piccadilly Valley.
You previously mentioned that Petaluma wine styles have evolved over the last 6 years, how does this apply to the current Petaluma Adelaide Hills Mt Barker Shiraz & Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay? The B&V Vineyard in Mt Barker was planted in 1992 and then expanded in 1998 so is now producing small crops of mature vine fruit. We have been learning the different clonal variations in the vineyard and how they translate into the wine. The underlying fruit characters have remained very true to site and our winemaking has become more in tune with these blocks. The barrel regime has also evolved with coopers selected for the suitability to Shiraz from Mt Barker, and gradually reducing the new oak percentage. Bigger format barrels have also been introduced, supplementing the traditional barriques. The current Chardonnay style has evolved in both fruit processing and winemaking. The Chardonnay style has also subtly evolved, although we are very careful to stay true to our old vineyards in the Piccadilly Valley. Changes in fruit processing and winemaking are constantly being fiddled with, and our oak regime has also subtly evolved. Our favourite cooper is still Dargaud et Jaegle, but a few other coopers have crept in. Larger format barrels have also been incorporated.
What was the reason behind the recent move of Petaluma’s Cellar Door from the Old Bridgewater Mill to the new Woodside location? During 2014 we built a brand new winery at Woodside, after 35 years at Piccadilly. As part of this move, we wanted our cellar door and winery to be at the one farm, so decided to sell the Bridgewater Mill to new owners.
What do you love about winemaking and working with Petaluma & what is your advice to new winemakers out there? Grape growing and winemaking is a wonderful life, the connection with our climate so much more intense when you’re growing something. Petaluma has always been a great place to work, stimulating and very connected to the three regions where we grow vines. Young winemakers should taste as much as possible, and travel to wine growing regions as often as they can afford.
The stunning new Petaluma Cellar Door at 254 Pfeiffer Road, Woodside will be open to the public from Friday 3rd of July.
We value local independent journalism. We hope you do too.
InDaily provides valuable, local independent journalism in South Australia. As a news organisation it offers an alternative to The Advertiser, a different voice and a closer look at what is happening in our city and state for free. Any contribution to help fund our work is appreciated. Please click below to become an InDaily supporter.