Established by Brian Croser in 1976, Petaluma is one of Australia's most prominent wine companies. Brian was the head winemaker for Thomas Hardy & Sons before establishing the Riverina College of Advanced Education course of Wine Science and Viticulture in 1976. While at the Riverina College he worked as a consultant to leading wineries and also established the Petaluma wine business in 1976.
Brian was conferred with an honorary Doctor of Science award from Charles Sturt University in 1998, and is is past Chairman of Judges at Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra Wine Shows.
In June 2000 in the Queens' Birthday Honours list, Brian Croser was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to the Australian wine industry, particularly through the provision of leadership to industry organizations, support of education and research in winemaking and representation of industry interests to government. In 2004 Brian was awarded the prestigious Decanter man of the Year 2004.
In choosing the Piccadilly Valley to grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, winemaker Brian Croser recognised the requirement of a cool environment to achieve the acid and finesse of flavour which are the hallmarks of superior sparkling wines fruit. The vineyards were the first planted in the Piccadilly valley. These cooler vineyard sites produce moderate sugar, high acid Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the substance of Croser.
Hand picked Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes are chilled and pressed as whole bunches. Only the heart run juice is collected for Croser and no additives are used in the winemaking process. Croser matures on yeast lees before remuage and disgorging.
Croser is only disgorged when there is market demand which ensures extended contact with the yeasts that preserves the wines freshness and contributes a wonderful yeastiness. The pristine flavours, defining acidity and elegant fruit structure set Croser apart as one of Australia's few aperitif style sparkling wines.
In 1984, Petaluma purchased the dilapidated Bridgewater Mill and with the assistance of then shareholder Soci?t? Jacques Bollinger, renovated the mill which is now the sparkling cellars for Croser.
The Piccadilly Valley is the highest rainfall at 45 inches per annum(1143mm) and coolest viticultural region in South Australia. The heat summation of the Piccadilly Valley is a mere 2117?F (1176?C) days. Petaluma pioneered viticulture in the Piccadilly Valley and indeed the Adelaide Hills in 1978.