Penley Estate is located in the center of Australia's most famous Cabernet region: Coonawarra. Continuing a family tradition that spans five generations, the winery was established in 1988 when the Tolley children continued the winemaking heritage of their pioneering families, Penfold and Tolley, both storied names in the Australian wine industry. In 1844, Mary Penfold defied stereotypes and was the driving force behind the establishment of McGill Estate. Similarly, from 1948-1961, Gladys Penfold Hyland was Penfold's Chairman of the Board. Their descendants, sisters Bec and Ang Tolley, run Penley Estate, proudly channeling the vim and might of their ancestors. Penley Estate's 240 acres of vineyards were planted atop Coonawarra's "terra rossa" soils with the aim of producing terroir-driven wines with distinctive regional character, and is now regarded as one of the region's leading Cabernet and Shiraz producers.
"Penley Estate is one of the finest Coonawarra producers, fashioning wines of greater richness, nuance and aging potential than most of their peers."
Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
Kate Goodman is well established as a respected winemaker. While her 25+ year winemaking tenure grants Goodman a great appreciation for South Australia’s diverse wine regions, the wines of Coonawarra continue to inspire her with their unmistakable expression of the region’s unique soils.
To achieve this pure regional expression, Goodman makes use of modern technology as well as traditional techniques adopted through her many years of experience. Small batches are fermented by site and clone, in a combination of temperature controlled tanks and French oak barriques. Traditional heading down boards are employed for greater tannin and color extraction, resulting in the region’s characteristic fine, dusty tannin profile. Penley Estate’s wines offer balance, complexity, minerality and wonderful longevity; but above all else, a tangible encounter with Coonawarra.
Coonawarra is known for its unique terra rossa soils – a thin band of vivid red earth overlaying soft limestone that runs nine miles long by one and a half miles wide. Soils and climate alike are ideal for viticulture: mineral rich and free draining earth meets with cold winters and a long, cool ripening season, allowing the grapes to slowly develop flavor and tannin ripeness. Goodman pursues a water deficit program promoting water stress prior to veraison, followed by sufficient moisture to see the vines continue functioning throughout the late fall harvest. In conjunction with hand pruning, this program ensures balanced vines with healthy canopies and crops of small, intensely flavored berries at yields of around two tons per acre.
Penley Estate’s vineyard plantings include Cabernet Sauvignon (164 acres), Shiraz (45 acres), Chardonnay (5 acres), Merlot (20 acres), Pinot Noir (6 acres). Each varietal was planted with a particular site selection in mind i.e. lighter soils for Shiraz and the more traditional terra rossa soils for Cabernet Sauvignon.