Peter Lehmann, a pioneer winemaker in the Barossa region of South Australia, died in an Adelaide hospital yesterday at the age of 82, according to a statement on his company’s website.
Lehmann, a winemaker for more than half a century and known to friends as ‘PL’, retired from the company he founded, Peter Lehmann Wines, in 2002 when a controlling stake was sold to Liebefeld, Switzerland-based Hess Family Estates AG.
Peter Lehmann Wines is one of a group of wineries connected to Hess including Glen Carlou in South Africa, Bodega Colome in Argentina and Hess Collection Winery in Napa Valley, California. The family company, founded in 1844, also owns property and hospitality businesses and an art collection.
“Every generation creates a few special people who have the vision, creativity and courage to make a difference,” Jeff Bond, chief executive officer of Peter Lehmann Wines, said in the statement. “PL was one.”
Lehmann was born in the Barossa town of Angaston in 1930, became a winemaker first at the local Yalumba winery in 1947 and then at nearby Saltram in 1959, where he stayed for 20 years, according to the company website.
A disagreement with Saltram directors over grape-purchasing strategy led to him leaving in 1979 to set up an independent winery, which now sources its fruit from 140 family farmers throughout the district. The company employs about 100 people in Australia, the U.K., Europe and North America.
His eldest son, Doug, was managing director of the business from 1990 until he retired in 2010. Since then it has been run by Bond, formerly global marketing director for Constellation Wines Australia.
Lehmann produces and sells a range of white and red wines from the Barossa and Eden Valleys, including a top-of-the-range Stonewell Shiraz priced at A$100 ($91) at the cellar door.
Guy Collins in London on firstname.lastname@example.org