THE STONEWELL JOURNEY
When Peter Lehmann started making wine in 1980, a large focus was placed on the Australian signature variety – Shiraz. Over the following years he noted that, although the local vineyards consistently produced high-quality fruit, only a few were producing exceptional fruit of intense and robust flavours.
Those special grapes, affectionately named ‘Little Black Jewels’ by Lehmann, were sourced and crafted into what we now know as Stonewell. First called “Show Dry Red”, Margaret Lehmann later came up with the name “Stonewell” after the Barossa district – the heartland of wine.
Our ‘Little Black Jewels’ are picked when they are slightly riper to increase colour and create greater depth and mouthfeel. Fruit from the best Shiraz vineyards is kept separate during crushing and early barrel maturation until the annual vintage classification where intense colours and concentrated flavours are seen as potential Stonewell varieties.
As the story goes, Peter Lehmann and Andrew Wigan had to hide the wine to allow for optimum ageing to occur over a five-year period. Released in 1987, the Stonewell exemplifies the most powerful expression of Shiraz from our legacy of growers’ vineyards each vintage. Today we are proud to celebrate 30 vintages of this iconic wine.
Seeking out the best grapes from the region’s top growers is at the heart of the Stonewell winemaking philosophy. Very little has changed in the Peter Lehmann approach to making Stonewell Shiraz since the first vintage. Barrel fermentation began in 1989 and for the next six vintages, all Stonewell was fermented entirely in American oak. In 1996, we began experimenting with French oak, which is more subtle and allows the fruit to better show its influence in the wine. Now one hundred per cent French oak, decreasing the time in oak to get better balance – the wines have become more graceful in their maturity.
A PARTNERSHIP SPANNING DECADES
Partnering with growers since 1979 presents our grower-winemaker relationship based on trust between the Peter Lehmann team and local growers.
This has involved working closely with the Peter Lehmann viticulture and winemaking teams to ensure their fruit is selected for the brand’s super-premium wines, such as the Stonewell. With mutual respect, the growers understand the distinctive Peter Lehmann winemaking style – ensuring that the style of fruit produced will be exactly what the winemakers need, regardless of the challenges the seasons may bring.