We chat to the happiest man alive - Sam Pfeiffer! A zealous young gun with a record of fabulous local gigs and international experience stretching as far as Canada!
A passion for making top-notch wines has been running in the Pfeiffer bloodstream for four generations — hopefully in addition to a healthy dose of their own wine's abv. It all started with a father-son endeavour between Albert Heinrich Pfeiffer and son, Hubert. Hubert then passed the passion to his son, Martin, and that's when we knew things were really rolling into good places. After 28 years with Penfolds, where he oversaw the world-famous Penfolds ‘Grange’ vineyards, Martin decided to bring things back home and share the art of winemaking with his sons Josh and Sam in the Barossa.
We chat to happiest man alive - Sam Pfeiffer! A zealous young gun with a record of fabulous local gigs and international experience stretching as far as Canada! But more importantly, Sam and his fam have a dialled-in commitment to handling their vineyards and wines as sustainably and natural as possible.
You can buy plenty of Whistler wines through us here at GPD, including his incredibly popular spritzy sweet number called ‘Fruit Tingle’ in our Party of Five Moscato Pack!
His Grenache is getting rave reviews, with the name ‘Get In My Belly’, well, you better do what he says! Get this Grenache in your belly, here
Whistler is a ‘cool’ name... do you whistle while you work? What’s behind the name?
Sam: Short answer is, yes I do whistle far too much, as does my 3 year old daughter now! The name is actually my last name, Pfeiffer, in German which is our heritage..... just like everyone else in the Barossa ;)
Speaking of work, you do EVERYTHING, what does a typical day look like for you?
Sam: Man... no day is typical for me. I oversee every aspect of the business from national sales, export (11 countries), cellar door, viticulture and winemaking, however I do have plenty of help! Michael J. Corbett is our winemaker and Adam Hay helps us with all things winery and vineyard day to day. We are a small team of 9 staff, but we're efficient! I love how random my days are to be honest - I truly can be pulled in ANY direction and it's exciting for the most part!
Wow! So how 'much' or rather how 'little' wine do you produce?
Sam: We are certainly considered 'boutique' in size. Every year is different, especially since we are predominately an Estate grown business. For example in 2020 we did 70 tonnes and last year, 2021 we did 114. So it fluctuates between 5000 dozen and 8000 dozen depending on the vintage.
Do you prefer the vineyard or the winery?
Sam: Man this is a hard one. I genuinely love both, for different reasons. I've spent more time in the winery with doing about 7 vintages in 3 different countries before jumping into more sales roles. The smells and energy in a winery, especially during vintage, is unrivalled and you're often high on adrenaline! I grew up at Penfolds on the Kalimna Grange vineyard so as a kid I was a round vineyards more.... now days I'm probably 50/50 with my time between vineyard and winery. You can't make good wine out of bad fruit, so the vineyard is bloody important to get right!
And in your vineyards? Are you organic?
Sam: We have been using Organics on our 30 acre vineyard since 2013 and more recently biodynamics since 2017. We are not certified for a few reasons, but for me the most important thing is to be doing the VERY best we can by our small piece of dirt. I want to pass it onto the next generation in better shape than I received it. We haven't used a herbicide or pesticide on this property for nearly 9 years and that's something I'm proud of!
You happen to make incredible Grenache! Well, all of your wines are incredible. You definitely are our most ‘highest rated’ producer here at Good Pair Days, but your Grenache in particular is getting ‘rave reviews’ by the critics. Tell us, (we know it’s amazing) but what do you think makes your Grenache so special?
Sam: Firstly, that's extremely humbling to hear it's being received by your customers so well - thank you! The Grenache was the first of the 'Next Gen' range of wines we made back in 2014 and it happened by accident when my Dad forgot to harvest a whole row. 2 days later we saw it and decided to wholebunch pick it into 3 barrels and footstomp it in the vineyard while picking. It made a super refreshing lighter style, and it was considered pretty progressive for the Barossa back then. It's my favorite wine in our range and now that we have Michael Corbett on board (a self diagnosed Grenache freak!) we are stepping it up every year! We have been lucky enough to gain access to a single vineyard, with 50 year old fruit, from the Koch family a few kilometres south of us & it's producing some amazing quality!
Who is your celebrity and/or wine personality crush?!
Sam: Ahaha I reckon this guy is both.... Stuey Borne. I've only recently spent a bit of time with him, but the way he tells stories about not only his wines, but the region is truly inspiring. Crazy amounts of passion and dedication you can feel in his voice. If you ever get a chance to be at a dinner with him and hear him speak, you'll 100% know what I'm talking about. Jennifer Aniston is a long term winner too for the record!
Thanks Sam! You are the BEST!
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