• Pfeiffer Wines Rutherglen
  • Pfeiffer Wines Rutherglen
  • Pfeiffer Wines Rutherglen
  • Pfeiffer Wines Rutherglen
  • Pfeiffer Wines Rutherglen

Chris Pfeiffer

Managing Partner and Senior Winemaker

300 Chris PfeifferChris Pfeiffer has devoted over 30 years to the wine industry, working for Lindemans before setting up his own winery, Pfeiffer Wines, in Rutherglen in 1984.

Chris Pfeiffer’s choice of Rutherglen for his vineyard and winery was driven by his love of the region and the affection he has for nurturing some of the regions world famous, fortified wines.

Chris Pfeiffer graduated with a B.Sc Agr degree from Sydney University in 1974.  By 1980 he was Chief Fortified winemaker at Lindemans, at age 29, one of the youngest chief winemakers in Australia at the time.

In 1984, Chris and wife Robyn purchased the “Old Distillery” winery in Rutherglen.  The property dates back to the 1880’s and was one of the original producers of brandy in Australia.

These days Chris and his youngest daughter Jennifer produce over 30 wines at the winery, from the elegant, award winning Rieslings, to the world famous fortified styles.  The philosophy used at the winery is simply to capture the fruit developed in the grapes and use winemaking techniques to enhance them.  The winery has pioneered styles too, like Gamay, a dessert style Muscadelle and Seriously Pink and was the first winery in Australia to adopt the name Topaque.

 

As a past Chairman of Judges of the prestigious Royal Melbourne Wine Show and current Chairman of the Rutherglen Wine Show, Australia’s longest running wine show and the Australian Fortified Wine Show, and a former Chairman of Judges of the Australian Small Winemakers Show, the Geographe Wine Show, Griffith & Swan Hill Wine Shows,  Chris Pfeiffer puts as much back into the industry as he can.  As a wine judge, he considers it an honour to be asked to evaluate what each winemaker considers to be his or her best wine, across every style of wine in Australia.

Chris Pfeiffer is the immediate past Chairman of Wine Victoria and sits on the committee of the Wine Federation of Australia, the Australian Small Winemakers Association and the Wine Industry National Environment Committee.  He is a past Chairman of the Winemakers of Rutherglen,   Rutherglen Wine Tourism and the Victorian Viticultural Society.  He is a past board member of the National Wine Centre, a committee member of the 2010 Fortified Sustainability project and was Chairman of Vintage 2010, a strategic planing body for the Victorian wine industry.

In 2012 he was awarded an OAM (Order of Australia) for his service to the Australian Wine Industry and in 2007 was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Victorian Wine Industry Association, for his contribution to the industry.  This same year he was also honored for his 22 years of leadership whilst chairing the Winemakers of Rutherglen.  

Chris Pfeiffer continues to be actively involved in the wine industry and plays an important role in promoting objectives of the industry as well as providing representation and advocacy to government, industry groups and the wider business community.

Jen Pfeiffer

Winemaker

300 Jen PfeifferJen Pfeiffer’s life is seriously wine.

Jen Pfeiffer was only 4 years old when her parents bought the historic “Old Distillery” property in Rutherglen in 1984.

Jen thrived in the Pfeiffer winery environment, enjoying the freedom of exploring the vineyard on her bike, and knowing all the best places to hide in the winery during games of hide and seek with her cousins.   Growing up in a winemaking family, Jen was exposed to wine culture from a very early age, and thus began the process of absorption – soaking up plenty of knowledge about the Australian and international wine industries, and being exposed to some great wines from all around the world.

Thus, it would seem it was fate that Jen return to the family business, but not before a brief stint at Melbourne University studying Science/Law.   In fact, it was in 2000 that Jen decided to come home to “do the vintage and earn a bit of cash, then head off overseas”.  Jen was given the responsibility of making the 2000 Pfeiffer Shiraz, and discovered she had an affinity with winemaking, and that she really enjoyed the work.  Jen was rewarded with a gold medal for that first wine, and the rest is history, as they say.

Today, Jen loves her winemaking role as much as ever, appealing to both her scientific and creative mind.  Jen has a meticulous approach to her winemaking, believing it is the small details that can turn a good wine into a great wine.  She strives for excellence across all styles, and enjoys the challenge of working with many and different varieties, from Riesling to Gamay and Shiraz to the fortifieds for which the Rutherglen region is famous.  Jen is particularly passionate about fortified wines.  “These are magical wines, with a great story to tell.  They are wines of time and patience.  They are wines made with both an eye on the past and the future.”  It is with this vision that Jen aspires to become recognised as one of Australia’s pre-eminent fortified winemakers.  

In 2005, Jen travelled to Beaujolais to work the vintage with the Saint-Charles family, owners of Chateau du Bluizard and Domaine de Conroy.  Jen was responsible for the production of the wines at Domaine de Conroy (Côte de Brouilly).  Jen learned many new techniques for working with Gamay, including the “pigeage” technique, which she now employs not only on her Gamay, but other wines made at Pfeiffer Wines.

In 2007, Jen fulfilled her holy grail, accepting a position with the Taylor Fladgate Partnership (famous for the Taylor, Fonseca, Croft and Delaforce brands) in Portugal.  Jen worked at the Croft property, Quinta da Rôeda, in the heart of the Douro Valley, and was responsible for the production of white port and rosé port.  This was an inspiring time for Jen, who fell in love with one of the greatest fortified producing regions of the world.  She has a dream to one day purchase a small Douro vineyard to produce her own port wines!

As a direct result of her experience in Portugal, Jen made this country’s first rosé liqueur wine in 2008, the Pfeiffer Seriously Pink.  This is an innovative wine, designed to be enjoyed as an aperitif, either over ice or as a long drink.  It certainly is “fresh, fruity, fragrant and fun”, as the label states.

Jen is involved in the Australian wine show circuit, in a judging capacity.  She is a judge at the Brisbane Fine Wine Show, the Rutherglen Wine Show and the Swan Hill Wine Show, with associate judge positions at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show and the Ballarat Show.

 

Jen is also a member of the Rutherglen Young Bloods, a group of 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation winemakers all working in their family businesses in Rutherglen.  The Young Bloods aim is to raise the awareness of Australia’s younger generations of wine drinkers about Rutherglen’s wines and whose vision is to reinvigorate a region proud of its tradition.

 

In November 2009, at age 30, Jen was awarded the Wine Society’s Young Winemaker of the Year Sommelier’s Choice Award.  Jen was awarded the title from a pool of the very finest young winemakers from across Australia and New Zealand.  The two outstanding wines which captured the sommeliers attention were the 2008 Pfeiffer Shiraz and the 2006 Pfeiffer Christopher’s VP.

 

Jen was a runner up in the Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year in 2006 and 2007, so was thrilled to take out the prize in 2009.

 

This capped off a stellar 2009 for Jen and Pfeiffer Wines.  Jen earned her winery a 5 star rating in James Halliday Wine Companion 2010 edition.  She also picked up trophies for Best Wine of Show and Best Fortified Wine of Show at the Riverland Wine Show (Pfeiffer Grand Rutherglen Muscat), Best Victorian White Wine at the Ballarat Show (2008 Pfeiffer Chardonnay), Most Successful Exhibitor Ballarat Wine Show and Best Dessert Wine at the Brisbane Fine Wine Show (Pfeiffer Classic Rutherglen Topaque).  

 

Jen has amassed over 300 medals and 12 trophies for Pfeiffer Wines in the past decade she has worked for the winery, plus had her wines nominated twice for export wine of the year.  

 

Jen intends to continue her involvement in Pfeiffer Wines well into the future.  She hopes to continue to push the boundaries of her winemaking and maintain the very high standards she has set, with a dedicated and committed approach.  She hopes to grow the winery business and assist in the development of the Rutherglen region.

Robyn Pfeiffer

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer

300 Robyn PfeifferIt is difficult to aptly apply a specific job description to Robyn for she is certainly "Jack of all trades, Master of Many." She has been Cellar Door Manager, Events Co-ordinator, Author for every "Pfriends" of Pfeiffer letter you have ever read, Wine Show Specialist, Spell Checker, Customer Service Crusader, "Pfunctions" Queen, Tourism Officer, Environmental Custodian, the third arm to Chris and Mother to all.

Robyn's involvement in the wine industry stretches back for as long as she has known Chris. Aside from the enormous amount of years involved within the industry, Robyn is also a qualified primary school teacher. She began her first teaching job with Australia Street Primary School in Newton, Sydney. In fact it is from Australia Street, all those years before, that the little chairs and table you've seen your children (or your children's children if you have been visiting us long enough) playing in our Cellar Door came from. Full time teaching was put on hold when full time motherhood began, first with Melissa and then with Jen. As her daughters both grew old enough she resumed relief teaching locally, in both Corowa and Rutherglen.

As with any good relationship, be it personal or business you need a steadfast, committed and dedicated partner. Robyn has been that to Chris for 40 years, since they first met in the mid 1960's and it is the reason Pfeiffer Wines has remained the "pfamily" business that it is. She is the integral pin between the product and the consumer and ultimately the Pfeiffer wines you taste are as much Robyn as they are Chris and Jen. As I began at the start of this synopsis, Robyn is many things to many people…..but most of all she is the "pface" of Pfeiffer.