Published on October 28, 2007
Fiercely loyal to family and friends, Lehmann left his successful position as winemaker at Saltram in 1978 when price disputes threatened the future of local grape growers.
Starting his own winery in 1979, he vowed he would always support the area's growers, who he lauded as the best in Australia. He endured several financial crises over the years, resulting from cycles of overproduction, and suffered through difficult times with his friends while resisting take-overs by corporation giants.
His winemaking skills have rewarded him with numerous international awards. His business acumen has built a healthy partnership since 2003 with Hess Group, a Swiss hotel and winery management company.
Peter Lehmann wines were the focus of attention at a recent, sold-out wine dinner at Pattaya's Royal Cliff Resort. The choice of Lehmann wines was apropos for the hotel's periodic Wine Club dinners, which are something of a legend in their own right.
Club president and founder Ranjith Chandrasiri, also deputy general manager of the Royal Cliff, lauded club member's enthusiasm. "The 150 seats available for this dinner tasting were sold out within 24 hours of the announcement, which is usual for most of our events."
Hardly surprising, in that the 600 members enjoy major discounts on various hotel services as well as access to monthly wine activities. Dinners are a modest Bt2,100, which for the five-course Lehmann dinner tasting can only be described as value on value.
Veteran Royal Cliff executive chef Walter Thenisch assembled a true Aussie gourmet feast to accompany seven wines. Tasmanian salmon, loin of kangaroo and Australian beef tenderloin highlighted a beautifully set and well-served dinner.
Braised in Barossa shiraz, the tenderloin shared billing with the multiple-award-winning Stonewell '02 shiraz. Of the 185 Barossa growers Lehmann works with, he selected 10 lots of shiraz for the final cuvee of this wine.
Finesse and power in one sip tell the story of handmade care. "If any wine can speak for the power of the winemaker, this is it," winery sales director Howard Duncan said. "It's Peter's personal statement of thanks to his growers and customers."
With only 4,000 cases made, it's a treat to drink and precious to buy. The real treat is being a member of Royal Cliff's wine club.
For info on the wine club, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (03) 825 0421. Peter Lehmann wines are available from Bangkok Beer & Beverages at (02) 661 9446.