Welcome to John Duval Wines. After 29 years as a winemaker with Penfolds, one of Australia's most famous wineries, I started my own wine label in 2003. I have had a fortunate career, graduating in agriculture and winemaking in 1973 at Adelaide University and then following in the footsteps of some of the greats of Australian winemaking such as Max Schubert, the creator of Penfolds Grange and Don Ditter, another famous Penfolds winemaker of the 1970s and early '80s.
I guess there was a family precedent to all of this - the Duval family had for many years run a world famous sheep stud and quality vineyards south of Adelaide, coincidentally supplying Shiraz grapes and vine cuttings to Penfolds. So I wasn't exactly a newcomer to wine.
I was appointed Chief Winemaker at Penfolds in 1986 and was lucky enough to oversee one of the most dynamic periods of change in the Australian wine industry. With the support of my team in the Barossa I secured a number of awards for the company - Winemaker of the Year at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London in 1989; Red Winemaker of the Year at the International Wine Challenge in London in 1991 and again in 2000; and seeing the 1990 Penfolds Grange named the Wine of the Year by the prestigious US magazine Wine Spectator in 1995.
Since leaving Penfolds I have consulted to a number of international wine companies in Europe, South America and Australia and I am a vintner partner in the Long Shadows venture in Washington State, US with our first 2003 Sequel Shiraz released in late 2005. In Chile I have helped to produce Pangea, highlighting the premium Syrah of the Apalta Valley. In Australia I consult to a project using old vine McLaren Vale Shiraz to produce Songlines Shiraz (sold in UK and Australia) and Oriel Sygnet (sold in the US).
As you can imagine I don't get enough time to spend at my home in the Barossa but I insist on securing at least four uninterrupted months around vintage to make my own wines. I love working with the fruit that comes from the old vines of the region, so I started with 'Plexus', a Rhone style blend of Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre and in 2006 released my first Shiraz, 'Entity'. I have also released small quantities of a reserve Shiraz, Eligo, further highlighting the premium quality fruit from the Barossa.
John Duval Wines will never be another Penfolds - it is simply my chance to express my 30 odd years of premium winemaking knowledge using some of the best fruit in the world.
I hope you enjoy the wines.