Client Profile: Paracombe Wines

Copreneurial passion     

A relatively new term that perfectly describes one couple’s strong desire to grow a successful family wine production business.

With no knowledge of the wine industry or grape growing, it takes a certain amount of bravado to establish a vineyard — especially when the State Government of the day were paying people to pull out their vines!

“People thought we were a bit crazy, but we were young and keen to give it a go,” according to Kathy Drogemuller who, along with husband Paul, worked outside jobs while establishing their property and vineyard.

From their first plantings in 1983 following the Ash Wednesday bushfires, Paracombe Wines began its extraordinary journey from the ruins of a burnt out old dairy farm to become one of Australia’s most successful, award-winning, family wine businesses producing 18,000 dozen wine annually.

But it’s been a far-from-easy road for Paracombe Wines to get where they are today.

The decision to go from grape growers to winemakers happened in 1991 while dining with friends who were customers of Paul’s grain and fodder business at the time and who were also wine producers. After sampling a beautiful Laurent Perrier French Champagne, Paul asked, “How do you make this?”

From there, they bought a second-hand crusher and milk tanks, got a welder friend to help them make a basket press and started making wine in the tin shed on their property. Paracombe Wines launched in the homestead gardens in early November 1992.

“In those early days, I would drive around with my little children calling on restaurants and bottle shops selling Paracombe Wine.”

Today, Paul and Kathy’s hard work, passion and vision have paid dividends. They have expanded the vineyard, designed and built a state of the art winery, established underground cellars and a stunning cellar door. Son Ben works in the family business and daughter Sarah in hospitality.

“The fruit for Paracombe Wines is from our family vineyards and specialist local family growers and all our wines are made, aged, bottled, stored and distributed directly from the winery.”

Sustainability and self-sufficiency in the winery, underpinned by environmental management practices, is one of the keys to producing ecologically-crafted, award-winning wines.

Paul and Kathy have invested in solar power technology and developed more efficient practices in the winery and vineyards for water usage, including installing large rainwater tanks to ensure the winery remains self-sufficient.

“We are constantly seeking, researching and implementing new ways to reduce our environmental footprint.”

This philosophy, along with dealing directly with the South Australian wholesale trade, building strong personal relationships, and delivering excellent service and a quality product has seen Paul and Kathy grow their business to be the success it is today.

Success which has seen Paracombe Wines expand not only into Australia’s major national liquor retails chains, but also into global markets including Sweden, Denmark, United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea and China, with the latter being the largest export customer.

“Breaking into the Chinese market is exciting, and it meant learning about a different culture, way of communicating and doing business.”

The Drogemullers seized an opportunity to participate in a fair in Guangzhou China in 2010 with support from Austrade who provided a dedicated exhibition area, interpreters, meetings with buyers, business matching program, media exposure and networking events. The decision spring-boarded Paracombe Wines into this new and emerging market and proved to be a pivotal financial contribution to the business.

Further success came in 2013 when Paracombe Sauvignon Blanc won Best Still White Wine at the SIAL China fair in Shanghai against 320 winery exhibitors from 11 different countries worldwide — a huge accolade for Australian wine.

The awards and accolades kept coming for Paul and Kathy who have amassed many hundreds over the years including the Paracombe 2014 Sauvignon Blanc — selected as one of just three wines served at the Swedish Royal Family’s annual ‘Sverigemiddag’ Dinner at the Royal Palace in Stockholm.

This year has also seen Kathy announced as a South Australian Finalist in the 2016 Telstra Business Women’s Awards in the Entrepreneur category.

Kudos aside, Paul and Kathy believe Paracombe offers great wine for a great price with a great story behind it. They also acknowledge the commitment, hard work and passion shared by their staff to produce world class wine.

”Paracombe Wines conveys the ‘family brand’ in a way that is inclusive so that our business associates, customers, and social media followers feel they are a part of the Paracombe Wine family.”

In a roundabout way, the ‘family connection’ has included DW Fox Tucker as their legal advisers.

“We were seeking professional assistance with applications for liquor licensing approvals to accommodate our exciting growth stage with cellar door and functions. Our Operations Manager Ryan Giles knew DW Fox Tucker’s Lisa Harrington personally and that they are specialists in liquor licensing. Lisa and her team have been great to work with and assisted enormously.”

It’s nice to be part of a great South Australian family.



Call: +61 8 8380 5058


This communication provides general information which is current as at the time of production. The information contained in this communication does not constitute advice and should not be relied upon as such. Professional advice should be sought prior to any action being taken in reliance on any of the information. Should you wish to discuss any matter raised in this report, or what it means for you, your business or your clients' businesses, please feel free to contact us.

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