Don Ditter

Penfolds Chief Winemaker (1975-1986)

Raised in South Australia's Barossa Valley, Don Ditter started work with Penfolds as a Laboratory Assistant at the Magill winery in Adelaide, in December 1942.

After graduating in 1950 with first class honours from Roseworthy Agricultural College, Don was reassigned as an Assistant Winemaker at Penfolds Nuriootpa in the Barossa Valley. He was lured to Sydney in 1953 to improve cellar operations and bottling at Penfolds Queen Victoria Cellars and at Alexandria.

In 1963 Ditter was promoted to New South Wales Production Manager, responsible for winemaking operations in Sydney, Minchinbury, Griffith and the Hunter Valley. As Chief Winemaker, he oversaw the consolidation of Penfolds winemaking to South Australia. This included a major overhaul of vineyard management, tracking of fruit, refinements in winemaking and bottling. A golden period followed with the release of Koonunga Hill and the re-release of Bin 707, and Ditter took the Grange style into the modern era.

Ditter retired in 1986 but remains a longstanding consultant with Penfolds. In 2008, Ditter received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for ‘service to the Australian Wine Industry’, particularly for his achievements as Chief Winemaker at Penfolds Wines.