5 Minutes With…Penfolds’ Chief Winemaker, Peter Gago

When did you fall in love with wine?

It was less of an epiphany, and more of an immersion. As my teenage years disappeared at Melbourne University, my interest in wine ascended, organically. Earning an income a little later assisted … as did the sharing of vinous treasures with friends and family. I often refer to the “grip of the grape” – the more you engage with wine, the stronger the interest. I didn’t resist.

What does a typical day for a winemaker look like?

Rarely are any two days similar. During harvest, it’s hour by hour – vineyards, winery, tasting-bench. The rest of the year, it’s blending, bottling, travelling. Oh, and a continuum of tasting and trialling (the fun bit!).

We hear you have an impressive home cellar…

I’m a bit of a bowerbird when it comes to wine. I collect. But, I also open and share… honestly! I’ve collected wines now for many decades, from everywhere. I joyfully study the form, and I’ve been very lucky when it comes to the odd acquisition. Perhaps it may be wise for me to stop there!

Do you have a career highlight?

One prize I treasure is the Winemakers’ Winemaker award I accepted in Dusseldorf in 2012 – only the second time awarded by the Institute of Masters of Wine and The Drinks Business magazine. Authentic, global peer recognition.

Your winemaking philosophy?

Keep it real, keep it simple, keep it pure. Minimise compromise, maximise quality. Enjoy.