Peter Lehmann Winery: Leading the Barossa "Would you do me the courtesy of tasting our wine?" the robust voice peeled from the other end of the phone. It was a voice that embodied every bit of South Australia. "If you don’t like me wine, you don’t have to buy it. Just don’t throw me out on my arse, like the last buggers did. You can be polite about, you know…say thank you, and show me the door. I’ll leave without wrecking the joint, I promise...of course, if you do like them," he boomed, "I’m going to ask you to lighten your wallet a bit." Thus began our relationship some 16 years ago, with the affable Peter Lehmann. Beyond the wit was the reality: high quality Australian wines were unknown entities outside their native land, and they were a tough sell. Australian wines were also in need of direction. The larger-than-life Lehmann was already one of Australia’s most talented winemakers, and he had been "chosen" to lead the Barossa Valley and its hundreds of independent growers to the promised land of international recognition. Through dedication, hard work, meticulous selection, and a zealot’s faith, Peter Lehmann has led the Barossa Valley, South Australia’s leading fine wine region, to the forefront of international acclaim. Barossa born and bred, the man’s knowledge of this special corner of the planet and its wines is without a doubt encyclopedic. So his verdict on the vintage as well as the new bottles which bear his name, is as much an accolade as the hundreds of trophies and medals he has won in the last half century. He draws on the vineyards of some 130 growers across the Barossa where the combination of hard soils and abundant sunshine yields grapes of remarkably intense flavor and depth to produce a Shiraz which is at once powerful and yet soft and very approachable. Barossa and Shiraz are as synonymous as salt and pepper and the 1996 is the essence of Barossa Shiraz. One sip of Peter Lehmann’s Semillon, a full, dry Graves-style white wine, or his decadent, fleshy Shiraz, a wine that seems to have not even a hint of an angle, will tell you why this winery is now so popular. Whether it be his magnificent Cabernet Sauvignon that some say recalls California’s silver Oak Cabernet or the late harvest, or botrytised Semillon that resembles the great wines of Sauternes, Peter Lehmann doesn’t miss a beat.