“When it comes to the greats of Australian wine, one name stands above all — Penfolds Grange. And one contemporary winemaker is synonymous with that icon — Peter Gago,” writes The Advertiser.
For the first time a member of the Australian wine industry – Peter Gago, chief winemaker of Penfolds Grange – has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2017. Gago is the only South Australian among 15 people who achieved the highest honour of Companion to the Order of Australia (AC).
British born, Gago came to Australia as a child. He trained as a chemistry and maths teacher before moving to wine and re-training at Adelaide’s Roseworth College with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Oenology.
The citation highlights his “eminent service to the Australian wine industry as an internationally acclaimed winemaker, to the global promotion of excellence in oenology, marketing and research, as a mentor, and to the community of South Australia”.
Gago has been the recipient of numerous awards in his long career. This one is special and he is particularly proud of the honour because it places wine on par with theatre and the arts, the judiciary, the military and culture in general.
“They say wine is the new language of business,”Gago remarked. “it’s the new gold, it’s soft diplomacy that speaks of a rich culture.
“When you put it all together there is a cultural impact, and a realisation that we do wonderful things along with the sports and the arts — it’s got to mean something.”
Gago joined Penfolds in 1989 in the sparkling wine department, before taking on the role of Penfolds Red Wine Oenologist. In 2002 he succeeded John Duval as Penfolds Chief Winemaker.