Argentinian billionaire backs new Barossa winery

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Related tags Wine

One of the world’s leading wine consultants has teamed up with an Argentinian oil-and-gas billionaire in a multi-million dollar vineyard and winery development in Australia’s Barossa Valley wine region.

Alberto Antonini, who was named last year by Decanter​ magazine as one of the world’s top five wine consultants, is advising Alejandro Pedro Bulgheroni on the development of Greenock Farm, a 40 hectare property at the northern end of Australia’s best known wine region, an hour’s drive north of the South Australian capital, Adelaide. 

The 72-year-old Bulgheroni bought Greenock Farm in October last year for AU$1.95m (US$1.45m). 

With only 12 hectares currently planted to Barossa iconic grape varieties—shiraz, grenache, mataro and semillon—there are imminent plans to cultivate a further 18 hectares with the same varieties, while restoration work has already begun on the 150-year-old stone barns and farm buildings on the site. 

A budget has not been revealed for the new development but the company’s Australian managing director, Amelia Nolan, says it will include a 180-tonne winery, a cellar door and possibly some high-end accommodation. 

The first vintage, under a label name that is still going through the international trademarking process, is expected in 2018. 

While it is considerably smaller than the Bulgheri Family Vineyards’ recent US$85m development, Bodega Garzón in Uruguay, Nolan promises that, like Bodega Garzón, it will be a cutting-edge development that will push boundaries in all directions. 

Bodega Garzón will feature a luxury hotel and a US$180,000-entry-fee wine club where members can create their own wines. 

Bulgheri, who spent three years exploring Australian wine regions with Antonini and Nolan before settling on the Barossa, has now added Australia to a portfolio that includes multiple estates in California, Argentina, Uruguay, France and Italy. 

He is the first South American billionaire to build such a far-flung international wine business and he’s done it in a remarkably short period of time, snapping up most of his estates since 2011 at the rate of two a year. 

We like the Barossa a lot​,” said Antonini, who announced plans for the development in Adelaide. “We had many options, but this was a place of inspiration​. 

The Barossa has great terroir and has built a great reputation, but what I taste now is not what we think the Barossa is capable of delivering. We will focus on the origin of the grapes, the unique place, not the variety. Varieties are generic, but places like the Barossa are unique​.” 

Nolan says that Bulgheroni and Antonini felt that the Barossa provided “a unique and special place to make wine​”. 

We looked at all of Australia​,” she said. “We wanted a unique vineyard site that was not only a good fit for our portfolio, but also provided an opportunity to do something new on old bones​.”

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