Jim Chatto returns to Pepper Tree Wines as Consultant Winemaker

Pepper Tree Wines is pleased to announce that Jim Chatto is returning to the winery as consultant winemaker, commencing with the 2023 vintage.

Chatto, who was awarded GT WINE Magazine’s Winemaker of the Year in 2019, worked at Pepper Tree from 2007 to 2014, building an enviable reputation as well as accumulating an impressive number of awards. 

Chatto is keen to re-acquaint himself with a region he knows intimately, having worked with these historic vineyards at both Pepper Tree and Mount Pleasant. His time with Pepper Tree Wines began in 2000, firstly buying grapes, and then as winemaker from 2007.

Chatto’s brief is to continue to build and develop the house style he created. The wines will be crafted in an inimitable Pepper Tree manner, fusing the tradition’s of the region with a contemporary approach. 

“I have enjoyed a great working relationship with Pepper Tree owner John Davis for over 20 years, and this new role feels like a natural progression, and the perfect opportunity to continue my involvement with the brand,” Chatto said.

“It is a chance to support this new generation of Pepper Tree winemakers and taking the vineyards and wines to the next level. It is an exciting challenge.”

The new role coincides with the re-release of his famed 2013 wines which have received critical acclaim last year, including winning the Trophy for Best Museum Red at the 2022 Limestone Coast Wine Show.

Of the appointment John Davis, owner of Pepper Tree Wines said, “Jim was responsible for developing Pepper Tree’s reputation for quality when he was our fulltime winemaker. We have maintained a close relationship over the years, and it is exciting to have him back in a formal consulting role.”

The consulting role will enhance the winemaking team with the aim to nurture, mentor, and counsel winemaker Nick Kruger. Kruger hails from a well-established Barossa wine family and has worked primarily in South Australia for Yalumba. This year he will make Pepper Tree’s first Barossa wine, sourcing fruit from hundred-year-old vines on his family vineyard.

“Having Jim join the winemaking team will ensure Pepper Tree has the experience and expertise to create the best possible house style, utilising our vineyards in the Hunter, Orange, Wrattonbully and Coonawarra,” said Davis. 

“Jim will work closely with the winemaking and viticultural team with the objective to continually build the quality of the wines and enhancing the Pepper Tree reputation as one of the country’s leading winegrowers.”

Pepper Tree Wines was founded in 1991 with a focus making wine from the Hunter Valley.  Today the roots run deep for owner John Davis, with vineyard sites in four premium wine growing regions across Australia, including Orange, Wrattonbully, Coonawarra, and their historic home vineyards in the Hunter Valley.