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Nepenthe relocates premium winemaking facilities

Australian Vintage Limited (AVL) yesterday announced that as part of its ongoing strategy to grow branded business whilst maintaining efficient production, it plans to relocate the Nepenthe wine production from Lenswood in the Adelaide Hills to the AVL premium Barossa Valley winery.

In making this announcement, Australian Vintage chief executive, Dane Hudson has reiterated the company’s commitment to driving and developing the premium Nepenthe brand but stated “The current economic conditions dictate our need to minimise operational expenditure while maximising quality”.

“Nepenthe wine will now be made at our award-winning winery based in the Barossa, maintaining the outstanding wine quality of Nepenthe. Transferring operations to our premium Barossa facility will in fact provide greater physical and technical resources for both white and red wine production. The extra tank press capacity will ensure all Adelaide Hills whites are processed at optimum ripeness and are harvested in the coolest part of the day. Red grapes will be vinified through the open tank fermenter system which will further enhance the intensity of Adelaide Hills reds, especially Pinot Noir”, Hudson said.

Hudson also confirmed the company’s plans to channel their energies into Nepenthe’s outstanding and award-winning viticulture operation and that the Nepenthe Cellar Door at Balhannah will continue to drive trial and awareness as the home of the brand. “The Nepenthe viticulture team is paramount to the success of the brand,” he said. “The focus will remain on producing premium low-yielding fruit in the Adelaide Hills.”

Australian Vintage’s Barossa site is run by senior winemaker, James Evers who not only has over 15 years winemaking experience but is responsible for the company’s premium South Australian wine portfolio. The winery is famed for its small batch winemaking and its facilities complement the Nepenthe technique of selecting parcels of fruit from individual vineyards and processing separately to ensure consistency and complexity is maintained from vintage to vintage.

Nepenthe general manager, Vicki Greaves and group viticulturist, Murray Leake will continue to develop and promote Nepenthe from their Adelaide Hills base. Winemaker Andre Bondar will be responsible for maintaining the style and quality of Nepenthe wines, joining James Evers and the team in the Barossa. The plan is to create a ‘winery within a winery’ overseen by Andre to ensure the Nepenthe style is maintained.

Dane Hudson also announced that Nepenthe chief W]winemaker, Michael Fogarty will be leaving the company and pursuing new directions. “Michael’s winemaking talents have been recognised internationally and we thank him for the tremendous commitment and innovation in winemaking he has brought to Nepenthe over the past two years,” Hudson said.

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