We make wines to suit the food we grow, cook and eat, by pioneering new varietals, styles and blends that better fit our Australian lifestyle
The S.C. Pannell label was born in 2004, when Stephen and Fiona bravely established a new brand dedicated to their adopted region of McLaren Vale. Perhaps most directly influenced by Stephen’s experience as Chief Red Winemaker at BRL Hardy, the choice of McLaren Vale was founded in the confidence of a region with an already established reputation, but, more importantly, also one that had the potential for a ground-breaking future.
Stephen’s vision of what was possible was equally shaped by his childhood upbringing on Margaret River’s renowned Moss Wood, as well as later tenures at some of the leading family estates of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Barolo and Priorat.
It is here that S.C. Pannell diverts from most other pathfinders, for as well as celebrating established regional styles – like Grenache, Shiraz and Cabernet – the new company also encouraged a belief that a benign, Mediterranean climate and a complex mosaic of ancient geology could foster a palate of varieties with the potential to become future signatures – Agliancio, Fiano, Nero d’Avola, Tempranillo and Touriga Nacional, among others.
This view of McLaren Vale as a region projecting an eclectic and colourful expression of new wine style has led the brand beyond the coastal sands and foothills and into the surrounding Adelaide Hills, to further interrogate the boundaries of possibility and cooler climes.
The result is an S.C. Pannell portfolio of diverse range, united in the common understanding that a progressive business has a responsibility to reflect the evolving reality of modern Australian life, culture and flavour.
Career highlights include: International Red Winemaker of the year at the International Wine Challenge 1999, Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the year in 2015, named one of the 50 most influential contributors to the world of wine by Decanter Magazine, twice winning the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show, twice winning the Max Schubert Trophy at the Adelaide Wine Show and, perhaps most importantly of all, winning the Bushing Trophy for best red wine of show in McLaren Vale no less than four times: 2011, 2015, 2016, 2018, the first winemaker in McLaren Vale history to do so.
In the words of others:
“It would be difficult to conjure a more complete all round wine guy than Steve Pannell. He really understands the vineyard, the winery, the market, the zeitgeist and wine quality. His wines result from this, so little wonder at his success.”
Huon Hooke, Independent Wine Writer
“If there’s one winemaker who can move and shake McLaren Vale into its next stage of glory it is Pannell. He has more runs on the board than Don Bradman (obscure Aussie cricket reference for those who are wondering) when it comes to making great wine in this region and he has the leadership, vision and energy to bring others around him along for the ride.”
Nick Stock for James
“The future of the Pannell’s is limitless, the icon status of the label already established”
James Halliday, The Australian Wine Companion