Penfolds California collection (pic supplied by Penfolds)

Penfolds, the flagship wine brand under Treasury Wine Estates, is again pushing the envelop and released for the first time wines carrying a "Wine of the World" label by blending California grapes with a touch of Australian addition.

Penfolds, the flagship wine brand under Treasury Wine Estates, is again pushing the envelop and released for the first time wines carrying a “Wine of the World” label by blending California grapes with a touch of Australian addition.

The Australian wine brand’s new California Collection consists of four wines made from grapes in Napa, Sonoma and Paso Robles, with two blended with grapes sourced from South Australia. The wines sell from US$50 to US$700.

The two flagship wines that lead this collection are 2018 Quantum Bin 98 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2018 Bin 149 Cabernet Sauvignon. The former is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Shiraz sourced from vineyards in both Napa and South Australia. It did not disclose percentage of Aussie grapes used in the wine.

Bin 149 is named based on the percentage of South Australian Cabernet Sauvignon used in the blend (14.9%).

Both are labeled with ‘Wine of the World’ designation.

According to the company, this is a Penfolds term used to describe the wine’s taste profile, because of the way it has been blended. Made from predominantly Napa Valley cabernet parcels, each wine contains a significant addition of flagship-worthy shiraz (Quantum) and cabernet (Bin 149) “of the highest quality” from South Australia.

The remaining two in the collection are Penfolds Bin 704 Cabernet Sauvignon, which mirrors Penfolds’ existing Bin 407, and Bin 600 Cabernet Shiraz. All the wines are from the 2018 vintage.

Penfolds California Collection includes two wines that blended grapes from California and Australia (pic: Penfolds)

It’s not the first time that Penfolds has crossed continents to produce wines. Earlier in 2019, it launched a Champagne in collaboration with Champagne Thienot, and has a French wine range called Maison de Grand Esprit.

It also hinted more wines under Penfolds label coming from Bordeaux and Champagne in the future.

Penfolds’ parent company TWE also owns American wine brands such as BV Vineyards, Beringer, Stag’s Leap and 19 Crimes.

Penfolds Chief Winemaker Peter Gago said, “A quality-first approach underpins this inaugural release, led by 2018 Quantum. This blend assembles parcels of prized cabernet sauvignon from some of the Napa Valley’s best vineyards and pedigreed shiraz from South Australia. This is a first for Penfolds.”

According to the winery, the creation of the collection is organic. Penfolds California journey started decades ago in the Camatta Hills vineyard, Paso Robles. In the 1980’s, Penfolds initiated an ambitious viticultural program in Australia called ‘Heritage Selections’.

During 1998 – 1999, a selection of Magill Estate and Kalimna Heritage Selection vines were planted in Californian soil, at Block 30 of the newly purchased Camatta Hills Estate, Paso Robles.

While experimental Camatta Hills vintages occurred in 2006 and 2007, the bottles were never commercially released by Penfolds. More recently in 2018, Chief Winemaker Peter Gago, Senior Winemaker Stephanie Dutton and Winemaker Andrew Baldwin reestablished Penfolds footprint within the northern hemisphere and embarked on the 2018 California harvest. 

Over the past three years, Penfolds has sourced grapes from some of the best Californian vineyards to complement Penfolds House Style, including Napa Valley AVAs: Oakville, Diamond Mountain District, Howell Mountain and Rutherford. Grapes were also sourced from Camatta Hills, Paso Robles, from the original vine cuttings planted in 1998 and 1999. 

“The wines made in California pay respect to California terroir, yet one thing remains overtly consistent…the red Penfolds stamp. AP John barrels, open fermenters and time-honoured Penfolds winemaking techniques have been applied. Being global isn’t just about selling wine around the world, it is about working with both feet on the soil. We will have the Californian sun above and soil beneath, but everything in between will be Penfolds”, said Gago. 

Penfolds has a multi-regional winemaking style unrestricted by region or vineyard. Penfolds House Style allows and embraces the freedom to explore premium viticultural regions across Australia and the world, including California. It is also investigating winemaking opportunities in Bordeaux (and Champagne). All will be revealed in good time.

Penfolds California Collection is available from Thursday March 4, 2021 at, Penfolds Cellar Doors (Magill Estate Winery and Barossa Valley Cellar Door) and select fine wine stores globally.

Leave a Reply