Established in 1844, Penfolds is perhaps Australia's most iconic and well-known wine producer. From humble beginnings at Magill Estate through to international accolade, Penfolds is a chapter all to itself in the Australian wine story.
Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold and his young wife Mary emigrated to Australia from the mother land, presumably to escape the terrible weather and horrific future sporting performances. Being a struggling single income young family in a strange new land meant that the Penfolds were only able to buy around 500 acres of the choicest land (aka Mackgill Estate, which in typical Australian style was later deemed to include unnecessary letters & shortened to Magill). As the hills hoist hadn't been invented yet, the Penfolds needed something pretty and functional to put in their backyard and had to make do with some French vine-cuttings which, luckily, did not have to be declared to Sydney Airport's modern day Border Security on their way into the country.
Dr Penfold, was an early advocate of the health benefits of Red wine, so planting these vines made perfect sense and set in motion a chain of events that would change the direction of Australia's fledgling wine Industry.
Penfolds - The Family Run Winery
In these early days most of the vineyard management and wine-tonic-making was left up to Mary while her husband was off Doctoring and often, Mary's contribution to the Penfolds empire has largely been overlooked. Upon Christopher's death, Mary brokered a partnership with her son in law Thomas Hyland (who either married for love or may have seized his chance to marry into a burgeoning empire) to form Penfolds & co.
Penfolds - The Corporate Machine
In 1976 Penfolds was purchased by a major brewing corporation based in N.S.W. called Tooth & co. This heralded a new age for the Penfolds beast, coming quickly after the retirement of one of this country's greatest ever winemakers and the man responsible for unleashing Grange upon the unsuspecting wine world; Max Schubert.
In the early 1980's, CUB (later to be purchased by Fosters, you know, that beer you can only seem to get in London Pubs) purchased Tooth & co. with the Wine assets becoming Southcorp in 1994. Currently, Penfolds is part of the Treasury Wine Stable and continues to produce some outstanding wines