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.