Category Archives: Meet the Winemakers

Meet the Challenge Winemakers: Penny Jones from Petaluma

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When asked about her proudest wine achievements, Penny Jones, senior winemaker at Petaluma Winery in the Adelaide Hills region of Australia, cites “largely unseen changes to the Chardonnay production process.”

These changes, she explains, reduced the handling of the fruit and juice and, in turn, raised the quality and longevity of the final product. Given this answer, it is not surprising she cites “fastidious attention to detail” as part of her philosophy of making wine.

Jones has been at Petaluma since 2004 and works with South Australian grapes from that region as well as from the Clare Valley and Coonawarra. The varieties included Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewurztaminer, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. She handles daily wine-making duties and is also involved in marketing, hosting overseas guests, dealing with trade customers and managing budgets.

“The Ningxia Wine Challenge offers a tremendous opportunity to put my current skills to the test in an unfamiliar landscape, whilst meeting with nine other winemakers from around the globe, each with their own wine-making philosophies, no doubt vastly different from my own,” she stated, when applying for the contest. “The opportunity to learn new techniques and philosophies from this vast knowledge base, and deal with unfamiliar varieties, is incredibly exciting.”

And she brings some China experience.

“I traveled alone to Beijing, China via train from Hanoi, Vietnam in 2010, and spent three glorious weeks visiting friends in Beijing,” she states. “I love exploring international cultures — with a heavy focus on the food — and am fascinated by the ancient history of China and the more recent developments in wine production there.”

Jones holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science in Oenology from University of Adelaide, where she won several academic awards, including the Leo Buring Gold Medal Prize for most distinguished student in oenology.