Tapanappa is the 21st century chapter of an adventure that pioneered the modern era of the Adelaide Hills wine region.
Tapanappa is the name that Brian Croser has given to his ongoing family-owned, fine-wine enterprise based in the Piccadilly Valley where it began more than 40 years ago as Petaluma.
After a storied history as the first and one of the finest of the Adelaide Hills wine producers, Petaluma was taken over dramatically by corporate giant Lion Nathan in 2001, although the Crosers retained ownership of their family home and their beloved Tiers Chardonnay vineyard at the foundation winery site.
The next year, determined in their vision to continue creating great Australian wines, Brian and Ann Croser established Tapanappa in partnership with long-time friends and business collaborators, Bollinger of Champagne and the Cazes family of Lynch Bages in Bordeaux’s Pauillac appellation.The French partners stayed with Tapanappa until 2014, remaining firm friends and continuing as importers in key global markets.
In 2014, after protracted negotiations with Petaluma’s corporate owners, the Croser family regained control of the PiccadillyValley winery and cellars in time to renovate it for the 2015 vintage and to move with renewed vigour into Tapanappa’s fine wine future.
Today Tapanappa has evolved into a complete family fine wine company from vineyard to market. It is managed by Brian’s daughter Lucy and husband Xavier Bizot, while another Croser son-in-law, Sam Barlow, looks after the winery. Tapanappa’s portfolio of wines is distributed in Australia by Terroir Selections, founded and operated by Xavier and Lucy.
The name “Tapanappa” is inspired by the 550-million-year-old geological formation that underlies the Fleurieu Peninsula where the Croser family have a coastal property and their newest vineyard, Foggy Hill.
The word Tapanappa is derived from the local aboriginal language, implying “sticking to the path”. This is exactly the philosophy Brian Croser has employed in selecting his Distinguished Sites matching the climate, soil and geology of a location to the right varieties and fastidiously managing the vineyard to make unique Australian “terroir” driven wines.
Since its foundation in 2002, Tapanappa has expanded its vineyards beyond the Piccadilly Valley as Brian adhered to the core philosophy that continues to drive his winemaking practice, defined by the concept of Distinguished Sites.
The “distinguished site” concept has now been applied to two more South Australia regions adding to the repertoire of terroir-defined wines of Tapanappa’s highly respected, fine-wine portfolio.
Those three Distinguished Sites are:
The original Tiers Vineyard planted with Chardonnay in the Piccadilly Valley in 1979
Whalebone Vineyard planted with Cabernet and associated varieties in Wrattonbully in 1974
Foggy Hill Vineyard planted with Pinot Noir at Parawa on the Fleurieu Peninsula in 2003
The Croser family has invested significantly in refining the viticulture of these three distinguished vineyard sites.
The old vines at the Tiers and Whalebone vineyards have been restructured and re-trellised. New vineyards have been planted with superior clones on rootstocks at very close spacing, inspired by the traditional European formula 1.5 metres by 1.5 metres with the vines only 0.5 metres above the soil surface.
As they did with the Piccadilly Valley in 1979, the Croser family has pioneered a new wine region at Parawa on the Fleurieu Peninsula by planting Dijon clones of Pinot Noir on rootstocks at the close-spaced Foggy Hill Vineyard.
At each of these vineyards, Brian and his team have keenly identified the components of terroir and nurtured their influence in the grape growing and winemaking process to bring to the bottle the finest expression of each site.
Planted with Chardonnay in the PiccadillyValley in 1979, The Tiers Vineyard is in every way a “distinguished site”. It is the first vineyard planted in the Adelaide Hills thus pioneering the true cool climate wine industry of South Australia.
Planted with Pinot Noir on the Fleurieu Peninsula in 2003, the Foggy Hill Vineyard is on a northwestfacing slope at 300 to 350 metres (ASL) at Parawa, the highest point of the Fleurieu Peninsula half way between Victor Harbor and Cape Jervis
Planted to the Cabernet varieties in Wrattonbully in 1974, the Whalebone Vineyard was named because of the discovery of a 35 million year old whale skeleton in a limestone cave beneath the vineyard