Treasury Wine Estates is celebrating three significant birthdays in 2021 – 10 years as a wine company, 50 years of Yellowglen and 70 years of Grange.
TWE became a stand-alone listed company on May 9, 2011, when it was demerged from the Fosters Group. Brewer Fosters had been building its wine division from 1995 and acquired Australian wine-making group Southcorp along the way, which added famous brands including Lindeman’s, Penfolds and Rosemount to its portfolio.
While TWE struggled financially before and after the demerger, it’s gone on to become Australia’s biggest wine company. Last week, TWE announced its FY21 results, which included organic net profit after tax of $250million.
Chairman Paul Rayner and CEO Tim Ford noted: “In 2021, we celebrated 10 years of TWE and took the opportunity to reflect on how far our business has travelled since it was demerged from the Foster’s Group in 2011.
“There have been numerous milestones that have marked this journey, including our luxury and premium wine portfolio led growth strategy, the acquisition of Diageo wine in 2016, the acquisition of production and vineyard assets in Bordeaux in 2019, and the significant expansion of our South Australian luxury winemaking infrastructure.
“More recently, the resilience our business has shown in successfully managing macro environmental challenges has given us opportunities to reshape our business and ensure we are well positioned for long-term, quality growth in the years ahead.
“We want to take this opportunity to recognise the significant contribution that many people have played in our growth and evolution during this past decade, from our team, past and present, through to partners, suppliers, communities, customers, and consumers, as well as our shareholders.”
50 years of Yellowglen
Yellowglen was founded in 1971 by supermarket chain owner Ian Home as a hobby. Home loved Champagne and decided to plant a small patch of vines at Smythesdale. His vision was to create a local drop that wasn’t as expensive and exclusive as imported French Champagne, but wasn’t cheap and nasty.
His brand was named Yellowglen in honour of the abandoned gold mine that had been established on the property in 1858.
Treasury Wine Estates Marketing and Category Director, Ben Culligan said: “Throughout its 50 years, Yellowglen has long been the social butterfly of Australian wine. Its fun-loving approach paired with sparkling expertise is what has made it so popular.”
As singer Dannii Minogue also turns 50 later this year, the two Aussie icons teamed up to mark the milestone with a special release – a limited edition 50-year Yellowglen Celebration Brut Cuvée.
70 years of Grange
Treasury Wine Estates released a limited edition record player in June to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its iconic Penfolds Grange.
Only seven stereos have been made, with a price tag of $95,000. They feature retro styling that pays homage to the 1950s, the decade in which pioneering winemaker Max Schubert created Grange. Each console comes with a state-of-the-art turntable, valve-driven amplifier, a hand-blown decanter by glass artist Nick Mount, Riedel glasses, a collection of accessories and two bottles of Grange – a 2010 and a 2017.
Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago said that music, like wine, had the ability to take the user to another place.
“It so effortlessly conveys life recollections of important times and places,” he noted. “It soothes, it stirs, it soars. It’s primal, it truly does … strike a chord, (and) it certainly satisfies the senses.”
The first vintage of Penfolds Grange was made on an experimental basis in 1951 by Penfolds winemaker Max Schubert and were largely given away to friends. When Schubert showed the wine to company management, wine identities and personal friends of the board, it was universally disliked. He was told to shut the project down, but he continued to craft his Grange vintages in secret, hiding three vintages ’57, ’58 and ’59, in depths of the cellars.
Eventually the Penfolds board ordered production of Grange to restart, just in time for the 1960 vintage. From then on, international acknowledgment and awards were bestowed on Grange, including the 1990 vintage of Grange which was named Wine Spectator’s Red Wine of the Year in 1995.
“The original aspiration for Grange was to create a red wine ‘capable of staying alive for a minimum of 20 years’,” said Penfolds Chief Winemaker, Peter Gago. “Tell that to sexagenarian vintages such as ’52, ’53, ’55 & ’62! Stunningly drinkable in 2021! In modern parlance – under-promise, over-deliver! Long may it continue … and modern Grange vintages such as ’08, ’10 and ’16 patiently await judgement in 2071!”