Prue Henschke - Viticulturist

In 1987 Prue took on her current role as viticulturist for Henschke. Prue’s research revolves around vineyard sward management, green waste, compost and mulches, trellis design, canopy management, soil moisture management and trials with native grasses and organic and biodynamic viticulture.

Prue Sitting In Vine

Prue with pride, relaxing within the Grandfather Vines In Hill of Grace Vineyard

stephen-favourite-wine

Prue’s RECOMMENDATION IS THE LOW-YIELDING, OLD, GNARLED, DRY-GROWN BUSH VINE GRENACHE,
Johann’s Garden


Biography

Prue began her career by studying botany and zoology at Adelaide University, graduating in 1973. On completing her degree, when she and Stephen spent two years in Germany, she become involved in viticulture and plant physiology. During this time she worked in the Geisenheim Institute vineyards, as well as becoming involved in grafting and breeding. Since it was hard to get a job at the time, she worked without pay in the Botanic Institute at Geisenheim on a project to isolate root inhibitors in rootstocks.

After studying Wine Science with Stephen at Riverina College of Advanced Education in Wagga Wagga, Prue worked in 1978 at the Roseworthy Agricultural College (now Roseworthy campus of the University of Adelaide) as a technical research assistant under Peter Dry, running trials on top-grafting grape vines at the time of the Vine Pull scheme.

In 1980 Prue became a viticultural consultant and began working with Stephen in order to further develop their own research ideas and theories on cool-climate viticulture, site selection and canopy management. In 1981 Prue and Stephen purchased an apple orchard at Lenswood, in the Adelaide Hills, with the aim of eventually converting it to vineyard and establishing the site as a research tool to apply their learnings from Geisenheim. The use of VSP (Vertical Shoot Positioned canopies) and permanent swards was then extended to their Eden Valley vineyards.

In 1986 Prue began a project in the old Mount Edelstone and Hill of Grace shiraz vineyards, with the assistance of a fellow Geisenheim graduate Uschi Linssen, to select the best genetic material for vineyard replanting. This long-term project was aimed at selecting the vines that produce the most intense colour and flavour in the grapes, through a process of mass selection. WIth assistance from Patrick Iland from the University of Adelaide, Prue initiated trials on varying trellis styles looking at grape colour in relation to crop load and leaf area to fruit weight ratio. The results led to the development of Scott Henry trellis on the old shiraz vines to enhance the unique flavours of each of these old vines.

Travels to many different wine regions around the world has inspired Prue to trial new grape varieties and clones in the three different vineyard regions: grenache, mataro and counoise in the Barossa Valley; tempranillo, barbera, nebbiolo and various clones of shiraz and riesling in the Eden Valley; and grüner veltliner and clones of pinot noir, chardonnay and merlot in the Adelaide Hills.

Accolades


2015 – Wine Spectator’s Critics’ Choice Award – New York Wine Experience

2015 – South Australian Regional Awards – Premium Food and Wine from our Clean Environment – Wine Award

2014 – Henschke Hill of Grace awarded an inaugural Barossa Trust Mark

2014 – Induction into South Australia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Business SA) Hall of Fame

2012 – South Australian Wine Industry Association Environmental Excellence Award – Small-Medium Business

2011 – Induction into Family Business Australia (SA) Hall of Fame

2011 – InStyle and Audi Women in Style Awards – ‘Environment’ category award

2011 – The Age/Sydney Morning Herald Good Wine Guide Winery of the Year

2010 – Advantage SA Regional Awards – Sustainability award

2006 – Gourmet Traveller WINE Magazine Winemaker of the Year

2005 – Induction into the USA Wine & Spirit Magazine Hall of Fame

2002 – Selection for the Australian Rural Leadership Program Course 7

1998 – Volvo/WINEMagazine Winemaker of the Year nominee

1997 – Barons of Barossa Viticulturist of the Year

1995 – Advance Australia Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Wine Industry

1995 – Regional finalist in SA Rural Women of the Year

1994/95 – Joint International Red WInemaker of the Year

Prue Mixing Organic Compost

Prue mixing organic compost in preparation for the cooler season


Sustainability & Affiliations

Active participant and protector of her surroundings

“My philosophy is a holistic one – to ensure our created environment sits in a healthy balance with our natural landscape. I would like to see the next generation inherit a fertile and sustainable land.

Using the principles of biodynamics and organics enables me to create the best environment for plant growth and since I started using these principles, I am seeing the benefits in greater expression of aromas and textures in the wines from all our vineyards.”

Building Community

Prue has always been an active participant and protector of her surroundings and is a member of many committees and groups.

Active Membership & Affiliation
Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology
Adelaide Hills Vine Improvement Group
Adelaide Hills Wine Region Environment Committee
Barossa Water Allocation Planning Advisory Committee
Barossa Viticultural Technical Group (BVTG)

Learn About

Stephen Henschke

Generational Pioneer