Vintage Cellars


Meet the Winemaker: Kym Schroeter

Meet the Winemaker

Kym’s father, uncle and brother were all Penfolds winemakers, so it was almost inevitable he would join the Penfolds family. Kym joined in 1987 as a laboratory assistant before moving on to red winemaking in 1995 and white winemaking in 2003. At the 2015 International Wine Challenge awards in London he was named International White Winemaker of the Year.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Apart from being a winemaker, I had visions of being a carpenter or even a fitter and turner, so you could say it was always going to be something creative. I started out in the laboratory at Penfolds and was there for about three years before moving into show wine preparation and assisting the winemakers. Not long after that, I became an assistant winemaker and in 2001, I officially became a winemaker. I cut my teeth on cask wines and West Coast Cooler preparation!

You’ve been at Penfolds for a long time. What keeps you there?

I’m currently in my 33rd year, and to this day, I still love making wine for Penfolds. I think a combination of the history, the iconic nature and quality of the wines, and the people I work with are what makes me love it so much! We have a great team and I like that the job doesn’t require me to be at a desk behind a computer all the time.

Who has been influential during your career?

Steve Lienert (former Penfolds senior red winemaker); John Bird (legendary long-time ex-Penfolds winemaker); and my brother Mick.

What is your favourite time of year in the vineyards?

Vintage. It’s then that you get a sense of what the wines are going to be like, just by tasting the fruit on the vine. It’s so exciting to see how well the wines come up post-ferment.

What do you think are the most pressing issues facing the industry today?

Climate change, and the impact it is having on picking times and duration of the picking window. Heat, drought and severe weather events seem to be having a bigger impact with every year.

Name a Penfolds white wine that’s great for summer:

I can’t go past the Penfolds Bin 311 Chardonnay – very affordable, bags of flavour and a great acid line.

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