How two white knights saved a mismanaged company
‘Max Schubert and Grange helped transform Penfolds from being makers of cheap fortifieds into one of the great wine companies of the world.’ Richard Farmer.
Max Schubert will forever be known as the Creator of Grange, the Genius who created Grange or the Father of Grange. Everyone knows the story of Max being ordered to stop making Grange because the early reviews were scathing, and the timid people who ran Penfolds couldn’t see past their noses.
Few will remember that, as winemaker, Max Schubert improved every wine Penfolds made, or that he improved every wine-making process when he was Penfolds’ Production Manager, or that he optimised the output from every vineyard and winery Penfolds owned.
Max had a lot of help from Ray Beckwith and others in turning Penfolds from a maker of cheap ports and brandies into a powerhouse table wine company, but he was the driving force. It’s not well-known that Max was a heavy smoker most of his life, and that he died of emphysema in 1994.