Pepper Tree Wines has announced the return of legendary winemaker, Jim Chatto, who will take a consultancy position at the winery. 

Chatto previously worked at Pepper Tree for seven years between 2007 and 2014, picking up a number of wine media awards, and earning a reputation as one of Australia’s foremost winemakers. 

Chatto has also served as Chief Winemaker for the McWilliam family – responsible for their operations across Australia, including Evans & Tate in the Margaret river, McWilliams in Riverina, and Mount Pleasant in the Hunter Valley. 

Prior to winemaking at Pepper Tree Chatto worked as a grape buyer for the Hunter Valley winery from the year 2000. His brief at the winery will be to continue to develop the house-style he helped create, ‘fusing the traditions of the region with a contemporary approach.’

The consultant winemaker will work closely with full-time Pepper Tree winemaker, Nick Kruger, helping to develop his abilities. 

“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.”

Chatto’s appointment also aligns with the re-release of his 2013 vintage Pepper Tree wines, the Block 21A Cabernet Sauvignon of which won the trophy for Best Museum Red at the 2022 Limestone Coast Wine Show, receiving 96 points. 

John Davis, owner of Pepper Tree Wines, expressed his delight at bringing Chatto back into the fold. 

“Jim was responsible for developing Pepper Tree’s reputation for quality when he was our full-time winemaker. We have maintained a close relationship over the years, and it is exciting to have him back in a formal consulting role.

“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,” Davis continued. 

“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.”

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