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January 23, 2023

New year, new winemaker at Ballandean Estate Wines

Ballandean Estate is blending a new winemaker into the family fold, 32-year-old Boxi Zhen, who will be starting a new chapter in his winemaking career at Queensland’s oldest family-owned and operated winery.

Fourth generation vigneron Leeanne Puglisi-Gangemi says,

Mr Zhen is enjoying the thriving community of the Granite Belt, the considerably cooler climate, natural beauty and proximity to Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

“Boxi’s experience at Bird in Hand Wines in the Adelaide Hills and Chateau Nine Peaks in Qingdao is a perfect alignment with our unique terroir and cool climate.

He will continue our delivery of delectable, varietal, regional wines of character — and inject some fresh ideas. As a flying winemaker, Boxi has followed vintages around the world, from the Napa Valley to China, South Australia and now the Granite Belt.

We hope that his minimal intervention approach and fresh perspective will underpin the Granite Belt as a region that continues to build on its momentum for new, exciting wines that suit our ever-changing climate.”

“It’s good to see so many young people returning to the region, there’s such a good balance between rural life and being close to major cities.

What attracted me to the Granite Belt was the chance to work with the incredible fruit produced here, the high altitude and cool climate delivering intense flavours and such high acid, thanks to the slow ripening seasons and chilly nights. Throughout South Australia, climate change is increasingly more apparent, and producers are having to adapt as it gets warmer and warmer.

I want to bring out the best expression of the fruit and terroir, with minimal intervention and a mix of modern and traditional winemaking techniques.” 

Boxi moved to Adelaide from China at the age of 24 to complete his prestigious Master of Viticulture & Oenology at the University of Adelaide.  He also has a degree in Food Science, which places him in excellent stead to continue the R&D science-based approach employed by Ballandean Estate’s previous winemaker of 22 vintages, Dylan Rhymer.

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