David Powell, founder of Torbreck Vintners in South Australia’s Barossa Valley, said he plans a new wine venture in the region with his son after leaving the business he built up over the past 19 years.
Powell, 51, said he was “saddened” by events that led to his departure following contractual and commercial disagreements with Pete Kight, who has controlled the winery since 2008. Powell’s son Callum is currently studying winemaking in France with Rhone producer Jean-Louis Chave and his wife Erin.
Powell helped develop Torbreck into one of the leading wineries in the Barossa Valley, northeast of Adelaide. Its wines are based on the area’s classic Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro grapes, and it exports two-thirds of its output.
“I can create a new business with my son,” Powell said by phone today. “I’ll certainly give my son advice. I have a lot of contacts in the Barossa.”
Powell said that day-to-day winemaking at Torbreck had been “very much under my control” up until his departure. Craig Isbel will head up the grower’s winemaking team, providing continuity, Kight said by phone Sept. 5.
Isbel, who joined the business in 2004, has played a leading role in the winery since 2006 and has two assistant winemakers, Scott McDonald and Russell Burns, according to Torbreck’s website.
“We’ve focused very hard on Asia,” said Kight, who invested in the winery five years ago. He said he sees Torbreck operating globally and has a management committee to guide the winery’s strategy.
Kight also owns Quivira Vineyards & Winery in California’s Dry Creek Valley, north of the Russian River region in Sonoma County.