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South American billionaire adds Barossa to growing empire

Published:  04 July, 2016

ONE of the world's leading wine consultants and an Argentinean oil and gas billionaire have teamed up for a multi-million dollar investment in the Barossa Valley.

Italian consultant Alberto Antonini, is advising Alejandro Pedro Bulgheroni on the development of Greenock Farm, a 40ha property at the northern end of Australia's best known wine region, an hour's drive north of Adelaide.

The first vintage, under a label name that is still going through international trade marking, is expected in 2018.

The 72-year-old Bulgheroni bought Greenock Farm in October last year for AUD $1.95 million.

Only 12ha of vines are currently planted with Barossa's most popular grape varieties - Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro and Semillon - but plans are unfolding to plant a further 18ha with the same varieties.

Bulgheroni Family Vineyards boasts multiple estates in California, Argentina, France, Italy and a US$85 million vineyard and winery development in Bodega Garzón in Uruguay.

The past few years have been a period of rapid expansion for Bulgheroni who has snapped up most of his estates since 2011 at the rate of two a year.

"We like the Barossa a lot," said Antonini, who spent three years exploring Australian wine regions with Bulgheroni and Nolan before settling on the Barossa.

"We had many options, but this was a place of inspiration. The Barossa has great terroir and has built a great reputation, but what I taste now is not what we think the Barossa is capable of delivering.

"We will focus on the origin of the grapes, the unique place, not the variety. Varieties are generic, but places like the Barossa are unique."

Restoration work has begun on the 150-year-old stone barns and farm buildings on the site.

A budget has not yet been revealed, but the company's Australian managing director Amelia Nolan says it will include a 180-tonne winery, a cellar door and possibly some high-end accommodation.

"We looked at all of Australia," Nolan said. "We wanted a unique vineyard site that was not only a good fit for our portfolio, but also provided an opportunity to do something new on old bones."

The plans were announced in Adelaide on Friday.