JOHN DUVAL – Barossa Valley, South Australia
- Winemaker of the year – International Wine & Spirit Competition 1989 (London)
- Red winemaker of the year – International Wine Challenge 1991 & 2000 (London)
- Chief Winemaker – Penfolds 1986 – 2002
- 1990 Penfolds Grange named the Wine of the Year by the prestigious US Magazine Wine Spectator 1995
- James Halliday Top 100 2010
After 29 years as a winemaker with Penfolds, one of Australia’s most famous wineries, John Duval started his own wine label in 2003. He has had a fortunate career, graduating in agriculture and winemaking in 1973 at Adelaide University and then following in the footsteps of some of the greats of Australian winemaking such as Max Schubert, the creator of Penfolds Grange and Don Ditter, another famous Penfolds winemaker who mentored me in the 1970s and early ’80s.
He guesses there was a family precedent to all of this – the Duval family had for many years run a world famous sheep stud and quality vineyards south of Adelaide, coincidentally supplying Shiraz grapes and vine cuttings to Penfolds. So he wasn’t exactly a newcomer to wine.
John Duval was appointed Chief Winemaker at Penfolds in 1986 and was lucky enough to oversee one of the most dynamic periods of change in the Australian wine industry. With the support of his team in the Barossa he secured a number of awards for the company – Winemaker of the Year at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London in 1989; Red Winemaker of the Year at the International Wine Challenge in London in 1991 and again in 2000; and seeing the 1990 Penfolds Grange named the Wine of the Year by the prestigious US magazine Wine Spectator in 1995.
Since leaving Penfolds he has consulted to a number of international wine companies in Europe, South America and Australia. He was a vintner partner in the Long Shadows venture in Washington State, US with their first 2003 Sequel Shiraz released in late 2005 and he has a project with Vina Ventisquero in the Apalta Valley, Chile, producing several wines including their Syrah ‘Pangea’ and ‘Vertice’ our Syrah / Carmenere blend.
As you can imagine he doesn’t get enough time to spend at his home in the Barossa but his insist on securing at least four uninterrupted months around vintage to make his own wines. John Duval love working with the fruit that comes from the old vines of the region, so he started with ‘Plexus’, a Rhone style blend of Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre and in 2006 released his first Shiraz, ‘Entity’. He has also released small quantities of a reserve Shiraz, Eligo, further highlighting the premium quality fruit from the Barossa.