We caught up with Josh Pfeiffer, a fourth-generation winemaker from Whistler Wines in the Barossa Valley, ahead of his appearance at GAME OF RHONES 2017!
Tell us your story!
I grew up on the Penfolds Kalimna property, running around its 700 acres of vineyards. My dad, Martin Pfeiffer, managed all of the Penfolds company vineyards in South Eastern Australia for 28 years before “retiring”. I went on to study winemaking at Adelaide Uni after taking a gap year and working harvest at Peter Lehmann’s in 2002. I took another gap year in 2006 to work at Yalumba and travel through Europe. My fourth year of uni was spent working harvest at Two Hands in 2007 with Matt Wenk and Taras Ochota, and I ended up being offered the assistant winemaking job in 2008. In 2009, an assistant winemaker role opened up at Henschke, and I managed to get that position, where I learnt 90% of what I know in the five years that I worked under the tutelage of Stephen and Prue Henschke. In July 2013 I moved back to Whistler and took over the grape-growing from my Dad, and took on the winemaking role as well. I converted our vineyards to organics in August 2013 and started re-shaping Whistler as a brand.
Tell us three things about your style of wines?
I want them to be bright, juicy and crunchy. Wine is meant to be a pleasure product. Gone are the days when you sell a wine that needs to be put in the cellar for 10 years before enjoying it.
G, S or M?
G train, all the way! It hits me right in the G-spot.
What can we expect from you at Game of Thrones?
We might have a few surprises up our sleeves this year. Not quite ready to reveal specific details yet, but we will have a cheeky Pet Nat to show and something that will make you a Whistler for good.
What’s your favourite/most memorable Rhone wine experience (can be a particular bottle or an experience)?
Drinking a vertical of Guigal’s La Mouline, La Turque and La Landonne (the La La’s) at the Apothecary on Hindley Street in Adelaide with a former boss, followed by a night at the Crazy Horse.
If you were a Game of Thrones character, who would you be and why?
Jon Snow, because he is bad ass and keeps coming back from the dead.
If you weren’t a winemaker, what would you be?
A wine consumer.
What do you drink when no one is watching?
Etna Rosso – there is something about that combination of volcanic soil and the influence of the sea that make the wines feel alive.