Penfolds uncorks international flavours

Melissa Jenkins
(Australian Associated Press)


Winemaker Penfolds is poised to produce wine overseas for the first time, turning out bottles of shiraz and cabernet sauvignon in California’s famous Napa Valley.

Penfolds, part of the Treasury Wine Estates stable, will also craft champagne in France and introduce a fortified wine infused with the Chinese spirit, baiju, as the famous Australian brand adds some international character to its lineup.

Treasury Wine Estates deputy chief marketing officer Angus Lilley said Penfolds winemakers will craft wines consistent with the label’s characteristics and flavour profile using the company’s existing facilities in the Napa Valley, beginning from the California 2018 harvest later this year.

The company is aiming to release the Napa Valley wines by financial year 2022.

“It obviously signals an intent for us to support Penfolds and to invest in Penfolds moving forward,” Mr Lilley said.

“This is the first foray into potentially looking at other regions.”

The plan to produce a premium wine in the United States comes five years after Treasury had to destroy product when exports of low-end brands failed to win over U.S. wine drinkers.

In September, Penfolds will release a more exotic creation: a fortified wine made from Barossa shiraz and infused with the Chinese alcoholic spirt baijiu – one of the most widely drunk liquors in the world.

“We are really excited to see how consumers throughout the world and in China respond,” Mr Lilley said of the baiju creation.

Work is also under way in Champagne, with the French bubbles expected to be released next year in time for the brand’s 175th anniversary, as part of a new range called Penfolds Special Bottlings.

Penfolds on Tuesday also added a 28-year-old single batch brandy to its range.

Treasury Wine Estates net profit for the six months to December 31, 2017 was up more than 37 per cent to $187 million.

Its full year results are expected to be released on August 16.

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