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Paul Georgiadis

Paul Georgiadis



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When did you realise you wanted to become a winemaker?

I never had any intention of getting involved in the wine industry. I grew up in the Riverland working on my family’s vineyards as ‘childhood labour.’

Please tell us about your career so far.

After finishing a business and marketing degree, everything steered me back to the wine industry. I was hired by Penfolds Wine Group in 1991 as their National Grower Relations Manager and in 1994, the role of Growers Relations Manager for the premium regions of South Australia. I was involved with a technical WineWeb project which gave me the grounding to understand the science and art of wine growing. I left Penfolds in 2009 and started my own viticultural consulting business, consulting with growers to improve their performance. I continue to consult with growers while being the external grower relations manager for The Randall Wine Group. In 1995, I purchased a bare parcel of land on Seppeltsfield Road to plant my own vineyard and put all my learnings into practice, with the initial goal of seeing how long it would take for those shiraz grapes to be selected for Penfolds Grange! It took 11 years, and we achieved our goal! Our 1st of 7 times.

What do you love most about being a winemaker?

I love working outdoors. Being able to combine the science behind grape growing and the art of viticulture to achieve specific outcomes is something that I take great pride in. Each growing season is different, so the vineyards must be managed accordingly. Working in conjunction with an ex-work colleague from Penfolds, Jason Barrette, it’s wonderful to be able to craft wines together that express years of combined experience.

What is your favourite wine, and what food do you typically pair it with?

My favourite wine would be Penfolds St. Henri, due to its true varietal expression unencumbered by oak. A scotch fillet with anchovy butter, roasted greens and a dollop of mash – the perfect meal!

Is there a specific process you follow when developing a new wine?

Firstly, having a passion for the variety and understanding the characteristics you’re trying to express. It’s about having a portfolio that tells your story of your learnings but respects the origins of the variety whilst showcasing your house style. We like developing wines that allow consumers to travel the world in the one place. 

Is there any vintage you’re particularly proud of creating? Why?

Vintage 21 – which we call the ‘Unicorn Year’. We had amazing fruit quality which gave us so many options to create wines of excellence. The season had perfect growing conditions, good winter rainfall, ideal heat during the growing season, and finished off with well-timed rain events at critical periods combined with dry and mild conditions for perfect physiological ripeness.

How does the local climate/soil affect the wine you make?

Soil and climate are everything. We have incredibly well-structured clay soils where the vines have established their roots in volcanic quartz, iron stone, limestone, and alluvial washes with gneiss and schist. The roots travel at depth extracting moisture minerals and trace elements from various soil layers which gives the fruit distinctive characteristics and prodigious flavour.

Which of your own varieties do you typically indulge in?

That’s like choosing a favourite child. They all offer a point of difference expressing their own personality. Shiraz may be the champion of the Barossa Valley, but our other seven varieties are exciting and challenging.

Where do you see yourself in five years? How do you think your winemaking will evolve during this time?

Hopefully retired resting up on a Greek Island! Over the next five years we’ll continue to develop our brand in search of excellence at each price point while continuing to be involved in the industry to stay current and supporting the next generation. As climate changes we need to be adaptable and introduce more drought tolerant varieties and manage our current vineyards to ensure they handle any extremes.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

A real take home message for anyone getting in business is that “things of quality have no fear of time.”

From Wineries of South Australia Issue 6. Edited by Emily Axford.