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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Tim Atkin MW

John Duval, who recently announced his intention to leave Southcorp at the end of the year (see Harpers, 2 August), is planning to launch one or more wines under his own label from the 2003 vintage. The 51-year-old, who made the last 28 vintages of Penfolds Grange, plans to make a Shiraz and possibly another couple of options from mates' vines'. The red wines will be sourced from the Barossa Valley, where Duval will be employed as a consultant to Penfolds for the next two years. Duval is not yet in a position to talk about likely volumes, as we don't even know what the season will be like yet', but the aim is to produce fewer than 5,000 cases. I'm not sure if I'll be making wines at lofty heights from year one and it'll be two years before I release a wine anyway'. Contractually, Duval is free to use his own name on the label of the wines if he chooses. Visiting London with Peter Gago, his successor at the helm of Penfolds, Duval denied reports of a rift with Southcorp's senior winemaker, Philip Shaw. I've been here for 28 years and I felt it was time to move on.' Both Gago and Duval said that determining volumes of Grange, which have never exceeded 15,000 cases, will remain the prerogative of the winemaking team. A series of chief executives has asked me to make more,' Duval told Harpers, but it's always been my decision. It takes a long time to build a reputation and not very long to destroy it.'