BSc Hons (1st Class) in Biochemistry 1982. Graduate Diploma in Oenology & Viticulture 1988, Roseworthy College, South Australia. Pete began winemaking as part of his honors thesis, looking at colour extraction in Pinot Noir wines in the new cool climate region of Canterbury, New Zealand in 1981 and 1982.
Pete then spent a year and a half in France working as assistant oenologist for A Moueix et Fils in Libourne Bordeaux, who owned Ch. Fonplegade (St Emilion) and Chateau Moulinet (Pomerol), amongst others. He also worked in the laboratory and tasting rooms outside vintage and in the cellars during the 1985 vintage. The next 3 years were spent at Roseworthy College, completing a graduate diploma in 1988. During this time Pete worked the 1987 vintage with Adam Wynn at Mountadam, then with Gerry Sissingh at Lindemans Hunter River, John Vickery at Leo Burings and Andrew Pirie at Pipers Brook in 1988.
Pete was appointed Wynns winemaker in 1989 working at Wynns Coonawarra Estate with Peter Douglas until 1995. Peter did vintages as a flying winemaker for Penfolds in Russia (1993), for the Laperouse project in the South of France (1994), worked in the Coteaux de Languedoc and visited Bordeaux in (2000). Pete visited Tuscany and in particular Bolgheri in (2006), The Willamette Valley in Oregon in (2012) and Central Otago in (2015).
Pete joined Balnaves in 1995 to design and oversee construction of the winery and take over winemaking.
In 2005 Pete was named the Qantas / Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year. In 2008 Balnaves was James Halliday’s Winery of the Year. In 2015 Balnaves The Tally 2010 was poured at the New York Wine experience (the top 250 wineries in the world)
Pete is the lead author of the “Australian Winemaking” textbook Red Wine Chapter, along with Stephen Henschke, Fiona Donald, Corey Ryan and Nick Bulleid, published in 2013. 2018 will be Petes 30th vintage in Coonawarra and 38th vintage. Pete has judged at 37 Australian Wine Shows.
In 2018 Pete was named Australian Society of Viticulture & Oenology (ASVO) Winemaker of the Year.
General ManagerREAD MORE
Doug was born in Penola and attended the Penola Area School. Although his initial working life was spent in the Sheep Industry he became involved in the wine industry in 1971 when he was offered the position of Development Manager of the vineyard to be developed in Coonawarra by Hungerford Hill. After 17 years with Hungerford Hill he left that company to establish a vineyard development and management company in 1988.
In 1990 their two children Kirsty and Peter joined Doug and his wife Annette in the business. Doug has been involved in various state and local bodies representing the wine industry including SA Wine & Brandy Association, Limestone Coast Wine Industry Council, Phylloxera Board and inaugural President of the Coonawarra Vignerons Association. He is a life member of the Penola Pipe Band and past president of the Coonawarra Guinea Pig Racing Association.
Annette BalnavesREAD MORE
After working in her career as a nursing Sister in Australia and overseas, Annette married Doug and settled in Coonawarra in 1967. For many years she was part of the Cellar Door Sales group at Balnaves. Annette relinquished much of this work in 1998 when she took on the formidable task of Chair of the Limestone Coast Tourism Association. Annette’s efforts for tourism were recognised when she received the Harry Dowling Award. This award is made to people who have made an outstanding contribution to tourism.
Annette’s spare time was occupied as Grandmother/Babysitter to her four grandchildren as well as pursuing her passion for photography.
Sadly, Annette passed away from Cancer in July 2018. The family business and Coonawarra region simply wouldn’t be where it is today without Annette’s commitment and dedication.
Pete was also born in Penola, and on completing his education he worked for a Mildura winery and then returned to Balnaves in 1990. He is the Vineyard manager for Balnaves Vineyard services P/L and is currently responsible for some 550 Ha of vineyards in Coonawarra, including the Balnaves vineyards. Pete has been the chairman of the Coonawarra Grape Growers Association and Chair of the technical committee of the Limestone coast wine Industry Council. Pete is married to Amelia and they have two young sons, Hugo and Ned.
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Kirsty was born in Penola, and after finishing her education in Adelaide she spent time in Broken Hill and then in Tasmania at Cradle Mountain. Returning to Adelaide, Kirsty attended university where she studied Business Management and Marketing. In 1990, Kirsty joined the family company and is currently responsible for the financial aspects of vineyard management and contracting, winery contracting and making and selling Balnaves wines. Kirsty is a current member of the South Australian Wine Industry Association Executive Committee including Member of the Project 250 committee, Member of the Coonawarra Vigneron’s Association Executive for 15 years, including a period as Vice President, and is currently a member of the Marketing Committee, she is also a Board member of the Penola and District Community Bank – Bendigo Bank, Volunteer for Meals on Wheels and volunteer on the Penola Community Wellness committee.
Kirsty has been a past member of the Lower South East Water Resources Committee, past member of the Penola and District Medical Support Group, past committee member of the Penola and District Little Athletics and Penola Netball Club.
In 2018 Kirsty was named as a finalist in the Australian Women in Wine Owner-Operator of the Year Awards. The award recognises “the ladies who run the show”– wine business owners or operators who have made an outstanding contribution to their business in the Australian wine industry.
Her weekends are full of farming with Will, Ellie & Annie, a revived horse riding interest and the odd chook auction.
Assistant WinemakerREAD MORE
Jacinta is returning home to Coonawarra from the Clare Valley, where she was Assistant Winemaker at Pikes Wines. After completing a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Biochemistry in 2012, Jacinta became immersed in the wine world by working vintages in Coonawarra, New Zealand, Germany and the United States. Following a vintage at Balnaves in 2015 Jacinta returned to university to undertake a Postgraduate Diploma in Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Adelaide.
Jacinta is excited to be a part of the Balnaves team again and to be back in Cabernet country.
Team BalnavesREAD MORE
Next time you visit our Wine room, you will be greeted by one of our smiling faces. Meet the Wine Room & office girls! We all love a wine and a chat! Hope to see you soon.
Amelia, Kerry, Lisa, Heidi, Laura, Tamara, Emma, Kelly, Sue & Amber.