Johann Henschke

Johann Henschke has travelled a long way to find his way home to the family business.

Words Campbell Mattinson

One of the most telling things about Johann Henschke is that he realised the gravity of his destiny long before it arrived. In some ways, it made him baulk, but mostly it made him do what the Henschke family has become renowned for – intensive planning and preparation.

The Henschke family has been in wine in the Barossa and Eden Valleys for more than 150 years and they have well and truly made their mark on the Australian wine landscape. If Johann was going to grab a rein of the family business during an era when climate change was beginning to bite, he didn’t want to go down as the one who stuffed it up. Or so you get the feeling. 

Born into the most prestigious wine family in Australia, opportunity didn't have to come knocking for Johann because it was already safely in the house. Winemaker dad Stephen has been running the business since 1979, with viticulturist mum Prue by his side. But Johann’s decision to step into the family fold wasn’t taken routinely. “I didn't want it to be a mistake. If I went into it, I knew it would be long-term,” he says.

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