What’s that quote? If you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life? If that’s true, Swiss-born Peter Althaus hasn’t done a lick of work in the last 20 years. In 1989, the then IBM customer manager found himself approaching 50, bored with the rat race and ready to turn his passion into his profession.
A self taught oenophile, in his early thirties he was already the president of a national wine tasting association and his knowledge and skills developed from there. By the late 1980s he and his wife Ruth were on a worldwide search for a perfect spot to grow Bordeaux style wines.
Travelling as far afield as Chile, New Zealand and Argentina, their priority was to find a cool temperate climate and stable government. When they visited Stoney Vineyard, the oldest winery in Tasmania’s Coal River Valley, established in 1973 by Priscilla and George Park, they knew they’d found just what they were looking for. So they bought the property, before even organising their immigration plans.
The first vintage was produced while Althaus was commuting between Zurich in Switzerland and the winery in Campania… on a tourist visa.
But his belief in his purchase paid off in spades. That very first batch of wines produced 75 cases of a superior cabernet sauvignon that sold at prices equivalent to top class Coonawarra wines. From there it was only onwards and upwards, with the range and the accolades increasing with every vintage..
Nearly 30 years later, Althaus is still very much involved in the day-to-day running of the 11.5-hectare vineyard, which now exports around the globe, not only to Europe, but also China, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taiwan. Current varieties include cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, cabernet franc and petit verdot.
The grapes are harvested by hand with open fermentation, hand plunging and patient maturation in the vineyard’s cellars before being bottled unfiltered. And they are celebrated among the great wines of the world.
We started with a quote, so let’s end with a couple more…
“Five red stars – best of the best wineries.” – James Halliday
“Peter and Ruth Althus have created a sort of Bordelais oasis with exceptional attention to site and detail in their Stoney Vineyard and meticulously kept winery. Domaine A cabernet sauvignon… an exquisite wine.” – Jancis Robinson
105 Tea Tree Road, Campania 7026
Tel: +613 6260 4174