Barossa Valley winemaker Dave Powell has left Torbreck Vintners, the winery he founded in the 1990s, after his contract was not renewed.
Torbreck Vintners proprietor Pete Kight told decanter.com that Powell is no longer with the winery after his five-year contract ‘expired’ at the end of July.
Powell established Torbreck on the world wine map, having started by crushing his first batch of grapes in a shed on his 12-hectare Marananga property in Barossa Valley in 1995.
However, he lost financial control after his marriage ended and Torbreck fell into receivership in late 2002. In 2008, ownership passed to Kight, already the proprietor of Quivira Vineyards and Winery in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California, although Powell remained at the business and largely acted as its public face.
Commenting on Powell’s departure, Kight said, ‘we had discussed a number of alternatives with Dave for a new position at Torbreck at the end of his employment agreement, and we ultimately offered him a consultant role to continue representing Torbreck internationally.
‘Dave turned down our offer, and the board of Torbreck made the decision to not renew his employment agreement.’
Kight said Powell has contributed to a successful five years of growth at the winery, especially in the emerging Asia market.
‘Torbreck has the same winemaker team going forward as we have had since 2006, led by Craig Isbel, Scott McDonald, and Russell Burns,’ Kight said.
‘We continue forward with our same domestic and international sales and marketing leadership in James Young and Andrew Tierney respectively.’
When contacted by decanter.com, Powell declined to comment for the time being, but said that he was preparing a statement.
Written by Chris Mercer