Cover Story WINE.LUXE Cover People ｜ 2017 Aug - Sept
Endure The Reputable Achievement : Peter Gago
延 續 宏 大 成 就 : Peter Gago
There are myriad choices for the wine enthusiasts on premium red wines. However, Penfolds will be the first brand to flash on their mind when they are thinking of a top wine company in the world in terms of the consistency of excellent quality and great value. Thanks to the eminent custodianship of the Chief Winemaker, Peter Gago, who has applied his profound knowledge of Onenology, practical experience and humble personality on leading the Penfolds’ winemaking team, which has successfully made a range of outstanding Penfolds wines to be globally acclaimed in the wine industry.
In late July, Penfolds hosted its re-corking clinic again in Hong Kong (The last time was held in 2011), and Mr. Gago was very pleased and passionate to show the guests about the concept, process and meaning of this Re-Corking Service. Never mind if you miss the chance to attend the tour. The generous gentleman is willing to express his thoughts on Re-Corking Clinics and his work through this interview.
WL: It is a great pleasure to meet you again, Peter! Would you mind to introduce about “Penfolds Re-Corking Clinic”?
PG: Thank you, it is my pleasure to meet you in Hong Kong again. Ibelieve it is my third time to visit here. For “Penfolds Re-Corking Clinic”, we have built this true programme in the past 26 years. We have conducted it across the globe including London, New York, Munich, Zurich, Shanghai and the US. People has sold Penfolds all around the world, the bottles may have been cellared for several decades. The objectives of the “Re-Corking Clinic” are to access the aged Penfolds and provide consultation on cellaring and drinking windows. It is an ultimate after-sales services, and most importantly — free of charge for Penfolds red wines aged 15 years or older, so it really does add worth to the collection. If the wine is leaking or it has been damaged, we will try to do our best to take it back to what it should be. The distinctive wine health examination is just a part of the programme. Penfolds especially partnered with Sotheby’s. Their wine experts were present to consult on wine auctioning and drinking investments for the secondary market.
WL: The service has been operated for 26 years now. Besides its repairing and advising function, is there any other value(s) involved?
PG: The re-corking service is about relationship and heritage. It has formed a lifelong relationship between Penfolds winemakers and collectors. We do care about the wine quality after they has been stored for many years, because Penfolds wines may be passed down from generation to generation— Some children went to the “Re-Corking Clinic” with their parents in the 1990s, and now they bring their own children into our clinics. Penfolds wines have a reputation for having the character, concentration and balance to age for the long term, even in not-so-perfect conditions. This is proven at the clinic. Our collectors will act as “word of mouth” to spread the reputation of Penfolds. It is wonderful to witness the re-corking journey for 26 years. Rolls Royce will go anywhere to repair their car; Penfolds will go anywhere to resurrect, repair their bottles.
WL: How does this service benefit to the brand development in China?
PG: It is extremely important, the number of Chinese collectors is soaring so they need this service. But this event does not look what we think it should be. You may consider this Re-Corking Clinic to be “authenticity clinics”. We welcome Chinese collectors to bring their bottles to the clinic. Our expert winemakers’ team will taste, access, and certify the wines only if they are declared in good condition for further cellaring. Chinese consumers put high trust in Penfolds and also our team to authenticate their wines.
WL: Now let’s talk about yourself. Congratulations on your recent award as a Companion of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List! Can you describe the feeling for the acceptance of this grand honour?
PG: I feel honoured to be recognized as a companion of the Order of Australia, the highest award in Australia. I was the only South Australian to receive such an honour. It means a lot. This is a recognition of the work we do, not only with a day to day job, but also the proof of our best spread externally across the world. I would not achieve who I am today without Penfolds’ elite vineyard managements and the help of veteran team. I often think how lucky I am to work for this prestigious brand, and the journey has not ended yet! I will use my lifelong effort to continue the achievement of this iconic Australian winery.
WL: We know there are numerous superb Penfolds wines, but which one is your most favourite?
PG: The rare Penfolds Grange 1953 is my No.1 favourite. It possess beautiful palate and exquisite aroma. However I cannot afford it (giggle). Closely followed with Vintage 52 and 55, they are exceptional. Vintage 71 is very special, and then 76, 90, 96, 04 and also the 100 points Vintage 08. My most favourite one in the new millennium is vintage 2010. Sorry that I have a lot of favourites.
繼2011年後，Penfolds「換塞診所」於今年7月再次重臨香港 。是次活動上Peter Gago十分熱情地向一眾賓客講解這項活動的概念、過程和意義。若你錯過了這次機會亦不用灰心，這位慷慨先生將會透過是次訪問分享「換塞診所」的經歷和他的工作。
PG: Penfolds 1953年份Grange是我的最愛。極為罕見，擁有極優美的口感和細膩的香氣，可惜我負擔不起(大笑)。緊接的是52年份和55年份，絕對是優秀的作品。71年份亦非常特別，然後還有76年份、90年份、96年份、04年份以及獲滿分的08年份。在新千禧年代我就最喜愛2010年份。不好意思我有太多最愛了。