Congratulations to Penfolds Chief Winemaker Peter Gago on becoming the newest member of Decanter magazine’s ‘Hall of Fame’.
The Decanter Hall of Fame recognises and awards excellence in the wine world and is bestowed entirely on merit. It dates back to 1984, when it was first won by Serge Hochar of Chateau Musar. Since then, Hall of Fame members and recipients have included Robert Parker, Steven Spurrier, Jancis Robinson OBE MW, Hugh Johnson OBE and Michael Broadbent MW.
Decanter’s Editor-in-Chief Chris Maillard noted: “Our Hall of Fame award has recognised many of the wine world’s most eminent figures over the years, and there was no doubt in our jury’s minds that Peter Gago is very much deserving of the honour. His stewardship of Penfolds has seen the company and its wines go from strength to strength. A worthy winner.”
Gago joined the winemaking team at Penfolds in 1989, initially making sparkling wines, before moving on to reds as Penfolds Red Wine Oenologist. In 2002, he succeeded John Duval as Penfolds Chief Winemaker, and early next year (2022) he will celebrate his 20th anniversary at the helm of one of Australia’s most renowned wineries.
Recently, Gago received a significant honour at the Queen’s Birthday Honours List Awards, his 2017 appointment as a Companion of The Order of Australia (AC). In 2018, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Australia; and was named South Australia’s Great Wine Capitals Ambassador. In 2016 Gago received Bragg Membership of the Royal Institution of Australia. He has co-authored five wine books with Dr Patrick Iland OAM, the most recent titled “Australian Wine – Styles & Tastes, People & Places”.
Gago said: “While personally thrilled and delighted to join this pantheon of illustrious recipients, I’m also humbled and somewhat overwhelmed. To daily engage with this thing called wine is something that has always given me enormous pleasure. How lucky am I?! I’m immensely grateful to all those who have helped me gain the attention of Decanter Magazine. Many thanks.”
“Penfolds is today truly an international wine company, and Gago is its spiritual leader. It’s hard to imagine a man more suited to the task,” concluded Huon Hooke, who interviewed Gago following the award’s announcement.
The Decanter 2021 Hall of Fame award also coincides with the 70th anniversary of Penfolds flagship Grange. In 1988, Penfolds first Chief Winemaker Max Schubert, the creator of Grange, received the coveted accolade from Decanter. Peter Gago has been formally recognised as a membe of the Hall of Fame in the October issue of Decanter Magazine.
Decanter announces inaugural Rising Star
This year, and for the first time, Decanter has also granted the Rising Star award. The inaugural recipient is Dr Axel Marchal, professor at Bordeaux University’s Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences (ISVV) and a consultant to 24 estates across France.
“At Decanter we’re keen to look forward to the future of wine, so we’ve launched the Rising Star award to honour those who are going to make a real difference.” said Maillard. “Our jury felt that Marchal is one of those people, and we very much look forward to watching what will no doubt be a stellar career reach even greater heights.”
A disciple of late French winemaker and professor of oenology Denis Durbordieu, Marchal is already making an indelible mark in the wine industry. His unique skillset combines analytical precision, intuitiveness, educational aptitude and sharp tasting abilities.
“To me, in the future, Axel will be the top winemaker in the world, because he has the knowledge, plus this extraordinary palate,” said Philippe Castéja, winemaker, merchant and CEO of the Castéja family business.