The late 1970s were difficult times for the Barossa wine grape growing community as the region was hit with a severe grape surplus. Companies refused to buy grapes and honour contracts, and Peter Lehmann knew this would destroy the livelihoods of the 140 family growers.
In a courageous bid to support his community of growers, Peter took out a loan, assembled equipment and built a small winery to process their grapes. The winery was called Masterson of the Barossa, in a nod to the famous gambler, Skye Masterson from the musical, Guys and Dolls.
The wine from the first vintage in 1980 was called ‘The Futures’ in a nod to the commitment Peter made to paying the growers once he had sold the wine. This arrangement was sealed with a handshake and Peter’s word was his bond. True to his promise, when the money started coming in Peter made sure to pay his growers first.
Led by Peter, the Barossa community pulled together during the tough times, not just to make great wine but to preserve the future of the land and the Barossa region. Today these longstanding relationships with the same community of family growers gives the Peter Lehmann winemakers unrivalled access to the very best grapes across the length and breadth of the Barossa.
In the beginning we made just one Shiraz, the grape variety that has defined the Barossa as one of the world’s great wine regions. But we knew Shiraz that came from some vineyards was better than others – smaller, deeper in colour and more intensely flavoured – ‘Little Black Jewels’ we called them. For over 20 years, Stonewell has been lauded as one of Australia’s greatest wines and one of the world’s greatest Shiraz.
The Masters wines are named in honour of a person or event that has played an intrinsic role in the Peter Lehmann story, and released with bottle age to capture the wine’s full potential. Named for the mentoring nature of our founder, this remarkable Cabernet Sauvignon captures immense varietal definition as the best expression of this varietal each vintage.
HILL & VALLEY
Hill & Valley showcase the great diversity of the regions surrounding the winery. From the cooler Adelaide Hills to the elevated Eden Valley vineyards to those situated on the Barossa Valley floor, these ancient soils provide the base for great wines that speak of their origins.
The first Peter Lehmann wine sold was a powerful Shiraz called Futures. It was marketed on a “pay now and pick up after two years in the cellar” arrangement. Futures played two important roles in the Peter Lehmann story: it cemented a reputation for classic Shiraz, and provided much need cash flow from supporters of the fledgling business. As such, it secured the Future of Peter Lehmann Wines.
The Portrait wines embody the original promise Peter Lehmann made to the growers to make wines that show the true character of the Barossa. Collectively, these wines present a portrait of the region with a selection of the traditional varietals that made it famous.
Crafted by the next generation of Peter Lehmann winemakers, THE Barossan showcases the superb fruit sourced from the many fabled sub-regions across the Barossa Valley. A selection of the Barossa’s key growers, renowned for their quality and skill, have shared their passion and pristine fruit to create this quintessential Barossa Valley Shiraz. Each parcel speaks to its vineyard origins, sharing a special and unique aspect of the sub-region.
The Wildcard wines are named after Sky Masterson, the gambler hero of the musical Guys & Dolls. Peter Lehmann Wines was originally named Masterson Wines between 1977 and 1981, as it was the biggest gamble ever taken by Peter Lehmann and the growers. The wines are soft and forward and easy drinking but still bear the hallmark quality of head winemaker Nigel Westblade and his team. “We buy grapes, not bulk wine, as we can make a much better wine that way,” he says.
GEOGRAPHY OF THE BAROSSA
Comprised of two distinct regions, The Barossa Valley and Eden Valley, and 14 sub-regions, the Barossa Valley is unique for its diversity of terroirs, topography and mesoclimates. Knitted together like a patchwork quilt, each sub-region displays a rich variety of soil type imparting distinctive flavours and characters into the wines.
The Barossa is one of the only wine regions in Australia to have neighbouring warm and cool climate growing conditions. Barossa Valley enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate characterised by hot dry summers, relatively low rainfall and low humidity, providing perfect conditions for growing grapes. The lower Barossa floor is drier, warmer and is ideally suited to growing iconic, full bodied Shiraz. The higher altitude Eden Valley region has a cooler climate with abundant winter rainfall. The soil in Eden Valley is rocky and acidic, which shallow rock and shale that creates world class Rieslings.
WORKING WITH GROWERS ACROSS
Peter Lehmann Wines works collaboratively with over 100 grower families across the length and breadth of the region, many of whom have been involved with the Peter Lehmann story for decades. Through these strong bonds and generations of working with the region's finest grape growers, Peter Lehmann Wines continues to craft a range of premium wines that tell rich stories of people and place.