Protero | Adelaide Hills

The Protero Vineyard in Australia's Adelaide Hills Wine Region

Protero tells a fascinating story of survival in the face of adversity. Stephen and Fiona Pannell purchased the Adelaide Hills vineyard, ‘Protero’, in late 2019. Within days, it was surrounded by the second major bushfire to have threatened the region this century. Ultimately the vineyard survived this horrendous wildfire and the courage of those who fearlessly defended it inspired Stephen and Fiona. As Stephen himself said, “we are moved by the bravery behind the history of this vineyard. Our own small act of courage is to try and invest this special place with a new sense of potential.”

The Pannells have been working with the Protero vineyard, previously owned by Rose and Frank Baldasso, since 2005 when Stephen returned from working a vintage with Aldo Vajra in Barolo. Planted with five clones of Nebbiolo and regularly enjoying cool autumns, Stephen had quickly recognised the vineyard's superb potential. While Nebbiolo remains at the heart of the vineyard, Stephen has also planted Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Barbera and Dolcetto, all varieties he believes are well suited to this cool climate site. His mission to create distinctly Australian expressions of these classic European varieties drives the Protero project. Yet, in his own words, “ultimately it will be Protero that decides which varieties it most faithfully expresses”.

Protero shares the same winemaking philosophy as the Pannells' other projects, SC Pannell and Koomilya wines. For Stephen and Fiona, fruit grown in the right place with considerable attention in the vineyard will always require minimal intervention in the winery.