He's been voted by his peers as one of the top ten winemakers in the country, was once named the International Red Winemaker of the year and been labelled as one of the 50 most influential contributors to the world of wine by Decanter Magazine. There's no denying he's a big deal!
His journey into winemaking dates back to 1969, growing up on one of Australia's most iconic boutique wineries, Moss Wood in Margaret River. From there the winegrower path was inevitable and lead to Stephen becoming Chief Red Wine Maker at BRL Hardy via vintages in Burgundy, Bordeaux, Barolo and, Priorat.
In 2004, S.C. Pannell Wines was established by Stephen and his wife Fiona in South Australia's McLaren Vale.
They produce dry-grown and environmentally sustainable shiraz and grenache.
We spoke to him ahead of Tasting Australia, where he's hosting two East End Cellar Masterclasses and a Vintage Dinner, to find out more about him!
What are you most looking forward to at Tasting Australia?
A break, all be it short moments, from the toil of vintage and the possibility of talking about something other than grapes.
Who on the Tasting Australia program are you most excited to meet?
Meeting friends from all over the wine fraternity it’s always a great bunch of people but and wouldn’t mind a quiet moment with David Thompson.
What’s your favourite thing about Adelaide/South Australia?
The vibrant forward-thinking food and wines culture and Port Willunga beach.
What’s the first wine you ever made?
An Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir made whilst bored at Roseworthy college. It was pretty good.
If you could only work with one grape variety, which would you choose and why?
A question I can’t begin to answer; it’s like asking a painter to use one colour.
What’s the most underrated wine variety?
Grenache. It's changing, but still a ways to go.
What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
That McLaren Vale vineyards were cheap. I should have bought more!