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Friday 3 March 2023

Winemaker Chatto heads back to the Hunter

Jim Chatto, one of Australia's most high-profile winemakers,  has re-joined Pepper Tree in the Hunter Valley as consultant winemaker for the brand. 

Starting with the current vintage, Chatto will guide the team making wines from fruit sourced from around Australia. 

The difference between vintage times in the Hunter, and cooler Tasmania, where Chatto is now based, will mean he can also continue producing the Chatto boutique brand in the Huon Valley with his wife Daisy.
Chatto was named GT Wine’s Winemaker of the Year in 2019 and worked at Pepper Tree from 2007-2014. 

He has been an on-and-off consultant since and knows the Hunter intimately having worked with great vineyards at both Pepper Tree and Mount Pleasant. 

Former Pepper Tree head winemaker Gwyn Olsen is now with Henschke in the Eden Valley, after departing in October last year.

"Having enjoyed a great working relationship with Pepper Tree owner John Davis for over 20 years. Firstly, buying his grapes (from 2000) then as winemaker (from 2007) it’s great to be back and part of the team," Chatto said. 

"The opportunity to support this new generation of Pepper Tree winemakers towards taking the vineyards and wines to the next level, is an exciting challenge - and a lot of the work can be done via Zoom tastings."

The new role coincides with the re-release of Chatto's 2013 releases which have enjoyed great wine show success. 

‘Jim was responsible for developing Pepper Tree’s reputation for quality when he was our fulltime winemaker," says owner Davis. "We have maintained a close relationship over the years since and it is great to have him back in a formal consulting role.

The consulting role will also benefit the winemaking team with the aim to nurture, mentor, and counsel current young winemaker Nick Kruger. 

"This will ensure he has the tools at his disposal to create the best possible house style for Pepper Tree utilising the vineyards in the Hunter, Orange and Wrattonbully and Coonawarra," says Davis.

Chatto plans to visit the winery for key blending and bottling time frames to ensure quality is maintained but will remain based in Tasmania.

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