John Duval has had a winemaking career that very few can boast. As one of the world’s best known winemakers John comes from a family that has seen four generations of vignerons, who for many years ran a vineyard south of Adelaide and supplied Shiraz grapes and vine cuttings to Penfolds.
For 29 years, John worked as a winemaker at Penfolds, a stint that included 16 years as the chief winemaker. He followed in the footsteps of such great names as Max Schubert and Don Ditter who mentored John during the 1970s and 1980s. John’s time at there also saw him awarded International Winemaker of the Year in 1989, Red Winemaker of the Year in 1991 and 2000 as well as seeing the 1990 Penfolds Grange being named Wine of the Year by Wine Spectator in 1995.
In 2003 John started his own venture under the label John Duval Wines. Two years later he collaborated with several other Barossa wineries; including Hobbs of Barossa Ranges, Spinifex, Massena, Schwarz Wine Co. and Son of Eden to form The Artisans of Barossa. These wineries worked together to promote the art of small batch, sub-regional Barossa winemaking.
John has spent many years consulting for several wineries in Australia, the US and Chile, but most significantly, was part of the team working on the Songlines project. The Songlines wine is a benchmark wine of batch production, handcrafted winemaking which brought together the fruit from McLaren Vale’s very best, individual sites that had in the past provided fruit for some of Australia’s greatest wines.
For his own wines John sourced much of his fruit from the very old vineyards in various sub regions across Barossa. Amongst others, is the Hutton Vale Farm vineyard in Eden Valley. This site was planted in the 1960s with cuttings taken from the famous Mount Edelstone vineyard, now owned by Henschke, and is planted just 1 kilometre to the north. As a close family friend to the Angas family who own the Hutton Vale Farm vineyard, John helped to produce their vintage in 1987, promising to show them how good the fruit was. Knowing the quality of the fruit grown on this vineyard, John combines these grapes with selected sites across the Barossa, drawing on his years of experiences to create a stunning portfolio of multi vineyard wines.