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Steve Pannell Buys McLaren Vale Property

One of McLaren Vale’s most exciting winemakers, Stephen Pannell, has purchased a property in McLaren Vale where he and his wife Fiona will open a cellar door for their brand, S.C. Pannell.

It’s 10 years since they launched S.C. Pannell (tastings), and until now most of the wine has either been sold direct to the consumer via their web-site, or direct to the trade – bypassing the wholesalers.

The facility, on Olivers Road, gives Pannell a much stronger presence in the region. It was previously Tapestry, and before that, Merrivale Wines. In buying the property, Pannell finds himself in the weddings business, which he’s not too sure about. The building is a function centre, and will continue as such for the immediate future. Stephen and Fiona will revamp the cellar door sales in their own style.

There is also an 8-hectare vineyard: Pannell now owns two vineyards as he bought a vineyard in the Blewitt Springs locality in 2012. This one has rather a lot of chardonnay, which is likely to be short-lived: McLaren Vale chardonnay has few friends and Pannell is keen to replace it with tempranillo and touriga, of which he can’t get enough to supply his popular temp-touriga blend (tastings).

The 2011 Bushing King believes he is giving something back to the region that has given him so much. With Stephen’s passion for alternative Mediterranean varieties and making wines that suit the Australian lifestyle and food, having a place for people to experience these wines has always been his dream. When he first came to the Vale from Western Australia nearly 30 years ago, he “instantly felt connected to the Vale and never left.” Says Pannell: “People used to ask me, ‘When are you coming home?’ and I’d say, ‘I am home’.”

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