Penfolds' first vineyard was founded in 1844 at Magill, South Australia, by Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold. After travelling to Bordeaux and studying winemaking techniques there, he returned vowing to produce a wine to rival the greatest clarets, this was Grange. The first vintage of Grange, named after Dr Penfold's cottage in Magill, was 1951. Today Grange is undoubtedly Australia’s most iconic and recognizable wine. Ever since its inception in 1951 the Shiraz dominated blend has come to symbolize the absolute peak of Australian fine wine. In the modern era, with Peter Gago at the helm, the wine seems to be gaining more plaudits than ever before. All early vintages were made from Shiraz grapes grown at Magill and Morphett Vale, Adelaide, and the wine was matured in new American oak for 12 months. Small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon are included in some vintages of Grange, and the wood ageing period has been lengthened to between 18 and 20 months. The wine is not released for at least four years after the vintage. A host of award-winning red wines from Penfolds have since followed, many identified by bin numbers which originated in the winery stock-keeping system. In 1998 Penfolds released its eagerly awaited top-end white wine, Yattarna, a blend of Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale Chardonnay.
With some of the oldest plantings of Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre in Australia the Barossa Valley is perhaps the most famous wine region in Australia. The warm valley floor and scarcity of water, coupled with incredibly old, dry farmed vines produces some of Australias most powerful reds.