Vineyards

Twelve vineyards in the Margaret River wine region generously  donated cane to be made into paper. The paper contains a tartan fleck which represents the Scottish presence – both past and present – within the capes’ region of the South-West of Western Australia.

Viticultural collaborators have been listed here.

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As one of Margaret River’s ‘founding five’ wineries, Cape Mentelle pioneered many of the region’s renowned wine styles and today is a benchmark for the quality of the region’s wines. The winery takes its name from the nearby Cape, named by the French ‘Baudin Expedition’ which charted the coast of Western Australia in 1801. They named the Cape after two notable French scientists, geographer Edmund and his cartographer brother Francois-Simon Mentelle, who lived in Paris in the early 1700’s. Wine industry pioneer David Hohnen and his brothers Mark and Giles established Cape Mentelle Vineyards in 1970. Our phenomenal Cape Mentelle journey started small with just 16 hectares of vines planted on what is now referred to as the ‘Wallcliffe Vineyard’.In the early years David Hohnen experimented with grape varieties including shiraz, cabernet, zinfandel, sauvignon blanc and semillon. Many of these original plantings are the source of the distinctive wines that have come to characterise Cape Mentelle. The winery’s flagship Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced primarily from the original Wallcliffe Vineyard. In 1983 Cape Mentelle won the coveted Jimmy Watson Memorial Award for the best one year old dry red wine, and cemented its position as a premium wine maker with another win in 1984. Our Cabernet Sauvignon is now widely regarded as one of Australia’s leading cabernets. Another wine to become a core part of the winery’s portfolio was the distinctive Zinfandel. David Hohnen had studied wine at Fresno State University in California and was captivated by this robust variety. The 1972 plantings at Cape Mentelle were one of the first commercial vineyards of the variety in Western Australia. At first the focus was on red wines, including a gutsy Shiraz. A turning point for the production of white wines came in 1985 when David Hohnen established Cape Mentelle’s sister winery, Cloudy Bay, in New Zealand. Cloudy Bay won world recognition with its Sauvignon Blanc. Cape Mentelle meanwhile developed a stylish Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blend that was to become another benchmark of the Margaret River region, and a Chardonnay sourced from vineyards outside the estate. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s wine making at Cape Mentelle was characterised by experimentation to improve quality, understand the potential of the fruit from each particular vineyard and develop a distinctive house style. The character of the grape varieties and the special attributes of the regional terroir are part of the style that evolved. The area under vine increased with the establishment of the 23 hectare Trinders Vineyard in 1988 followed by the Chapman Brook Vineyard in the early 1990’s. By this time Cape Mentelle had a well established reputation in the Australian market. A partnership with Veuve Clicquot enabled Cape Mentelle to take the next step, further developing the winery with a new cellar and modern equipment and an expansion into the international market. Today Cape Mentelle, as part of Estates & Wines (owned by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), continues to build on its solid foundations.

 

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Family owned, Leeuwin Estate, one of the five founding wineries of the now famous Margaret River district of Western Australia, is under the direction of two generations who work with a team of highly skilled winemakers to consistently produce wines ranking alongside the world’s finest. In 1972, legendary Napa Valley winemaker, Robert Mondavi, identified the future site of the Leeuwin vineyard as being ideal for the production of premium wine and provided early mentorship to Denis and Tricia Horgan in the transformation of their cattle farm into Leeuwin Estate. Enjoying its first commercial vintage in 1979, Leeuwin was thrust into the international spotlight when Decanter Magazine gave its highest recommendation to the 1980 “Art Series” Chardonnay. The international accolades have continued and Leeuwin now exports to 30 markets. Celebrating the combination of fine wine, food, art and music, Leeuwin features an award winning restaurant, cellardoor and art gallery. The Estate is renowned for staging spectacular events and welcoming visitors from around the world.

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Howard Park Wines is a West Australian family-owned winery producing a range of handcrafted fine Australian wines from the state’s premier grape growing regions of Margaret River and the Great Southern. Since its inception in 1986, Howard Park’s philosophy has been to craft outstanding boutique Australian wines of great subtlety, character, balance and elegance with an uncompromising commitment to quality

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With the wisdom of three generations of vignerons and winemakers we take a purists approach; focussing on single vineyard wines, biological farming and a “hands off” philosophy to winemaking. McHenry Hohnen was founded in 2004 by pioneering Margaret River winemaker and 3rd generation biological farmer David Hohnen and his brother-in-law, grape-grower and wine retailer Murray McHenry. Their team is headed by winemaker Julian Grounds and viticulturalist Mike Sleegers. Julian is a winemaker who eschews technology in the winemaking process and Mike employs a bio-dynamic approach to the vineyard. Collectively McHenry Hohnen incorporates pre-industrial practices which exemplifies a new generation of winemaking. With an ethos of quality over quantity, we create small lots of expressive, authentic, fine wines. They endeavour to engage and educate wine drinkers on the merits of pre-industrial wine growing and grape handling via the unadulterated quality of flavours in our sustainably produced wines. In their portfolio you will see hand-picked alternative varieties, wild ferments and full flavours.

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Bill Ullinger founded the business in 1977 when he purchased the land, cleared it and planted the first 20 acres of vines, sheer madness he claimed is what drove him to these feats. Since then, Redgate has grown into a 55 acre vineyard with its own winery, cellar door and enviable reputation for producing boutique wines of premium quality.

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Stella Bella Wines and its success today evolved from the fusion of two passionate minds, Stuart Pym and Janice McDonald. Together they decided to craft wines that would rival the benchmarks of Australia and beyond, with a strong belief in the unique and expressive terroir of Margaret River. From this the Stella Bella story unfolded to where it is today…

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In 1999, Watershed’s Founder and Managing Director, Geoff Barrett, discovered a piece of land just south of the Margaret River townsite. Geoff assembled his winemaking and viticultural teams and set about developing the site into the world-class vineyard, winery and restaurant we see today. Our first vines were planted in 2001 and our first wines were released from Margaret River growers fruit in September 2002 to coincide with the opening of our cellar door. Construction of our restaurant and cafe soon followed which were officially opened in 2003. Today, Watershed’s annual production exceeds 100,000 cases and wines are widely available on the domestic and international market. The definition of watershed is ‘to go to a new (higher) level of understanding; an awakening’. A second meaning is ‘a high area of land between two bodies of water’. Both meanings are appropriate to Watershed Premium Wines. The Watershed label was designed by Roland Butcher and incorporates a purple room with a four paned window on the wall. Green vines can be seen looking out of the window, however, the main focus is a ray of light streaming through the glass and diffusing across the floor, symbolizing a human being’s ‘stream of consciousness’ – a creative but almost uncontrollable thought process, spurred on by small inspirations, all leading to a final revelation, or awakening.

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150 years of farming underpin the Wright family’s dedication to Voyager Estate. Our viticulture and winemaking bring everything they love about agriculture together in one enterprise. Michael Wright settled on their special site in Stevens Valley because it had the ideal characteristics to create wines that are at home amongst the world’s best. Its geology is the oldest in Australia and the gravel soils, microclimate, aspect and consistent maritime influence make up the foundations of the distinctive Voyager Estate style. The final step in the journey is the best – inviting everyone to come and enjoy a glass with us in Margaret River. The perfect combination of food, wine and the warmth of family and friends is what a visit to Voyager Estate is about. From the flawless Cape Dutch architecture and stunning gardens, to the spectacular Wine Room and award-winning Restaurant, every feature of the Estate is designed to give you an inspirational experience.

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It was in 1999 that Chris started what was later to become Windows Estate. Given the chance to expand on a tiny three year old vineyard with only a hectare each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc under vine, and located just north of Metricup in the heart of Margaret River’s celebrated wine region, he established a total of nine varieties, thereby increasing the total size of the vineyard to just a little over six hectares. From the onset the ultimate goal was to produce truly unique wines of outstanding quality. We are firm believers in growing good wine, rather than making it in the winery. A formally trained viticulturist, the vineyard has always been Chris’ true passion. Not willing to compromise the health of the vineyard, the state of his treasured vines and ultimately the quality of the fruit they give us, he decided at a very young age never to cut corners in the vineyard. Consequently, Chris has worked the vineyard completely on his own from day one, which is the only way to meet the high standards he sets for himself. Our little vineyard is where he spends the vast majority of his time; he knows it like the back of his own hand. No stranger to hard physical labour he hand-prunes every single one of the vines himself, year after year. Apart from the very day the grapes are harvested no one else is ever allowed to touch his vines. In the winery, by contrast, we prefer to keep it rather simple. This does not mean that we are trying to make it easier on ourselves once the fruit has been carefully handpicked and has made its way back to the humble shed we call our winery. On the contrary, handling the fruit as gently as possible is our number one priority, and we ensure this by using very little machinery and traditionally processing the wines by hand almost every step along the way. After making sure the fruit is picked at ideal flavour and acid levels, when it is perfectly ripe and bursting with vibrant aromatics and highly concentrated flavours, there is no need for highly technical or invasive winemaking. Instead, we take a minimal intervention approach, where we simply try to showcase the quality of our fruit without making adjustments or additions to the wine while making it. Whenever possible we do not even inoculate the ferments and just let the indigenous yeasts go to work, which adds uniqueness and character to the wine. All the red wine ferments are manually plunged, not pumped over, and the remaining juice is pressed off by hand using a simple traditional basket press, one of our most prized possessions. Only the highest quality French oak is used to mature the wines, and to add texture and complexity in the process. Before bottling only minimal filtering and fining with eggwhites occurs, and sulphite additions are kept to a bare minimum, resulting in sulphite levels well below those that are permitted for certified organic wines. Essentially, our ultimate goal is to accurately translate what we get from the vineyard into the bottle. And we strongly feel the simple approach outlined above is the only way that really does our wines justice. What we do at Windows Estate is not in any form or sense inventive. Our philosophy is simply borrowed from some of the world’s top producers, many of whom have themselves merely reverted back to the age-old tradition of truthfully showcasing all that their fruit has to offer, of letting the terroir and the grapes speak for themselves. In fact, many of the world’s greatest wines, and certainly the vast majority of those wines that really inspire us, are not great feats of modern winemaking in a technical sense. Their greatness is typically the result of a winemaker’s willingness to allow the wine to truly express where it comes from and what happened in the vineyard, not just during a particular vintage’s growing season, but over a period of years or even decades leading up to each new harvest. These extraordinary wines are therefore much more the culmination of many years of meticulous attention to detail in the vineyard and the uniqueness of its location, rather than the outcome of an accomplished winemaker’s wizardry in the winery. Of course, each one of them would have been treated with great diligence throughout the entire winemaking process, but ultimately it is their sense of place and the exceptional quality of the fruit that went into making them that makes them both inimitable and unsurpassed in their balance, their complexity and their finesse. Acknowledging this simple truth, we feel strongly that Chris’ classic vigneron approach, fully taking control of every part of the production process from the grape to the bottle, is the definitive pathway to creating the kind of wines we are proud to call our own. So this is exactly what we will continue to do, refining and perfecting our practises both in the vineyard and winery as we go along. We feel very privileged to be on the land we are on, and we see ourselves as custodians of this special piece of Earth. We constantly work on evolving our holistic approach to managing our vineyard, one that has a strong emphasis on maintaining a healthy ecosystem on the entire property, and thereby ensuring the long-term sustainability of what we do. We firmly believe that it is the only way to get our vines to live up to their full potential and produce the best quality fruit they can possibly offer us. Moreover, long term sustainability is no less important to us than the quality of every single crop of fruit, not least because we are determined to leave Lucas and Violette one of the finest vineyards in the region when one day the time is right for him to step up and take over our little estate.

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Vasse Felix is Margaret River’s founding wine Estate and was established in 1967 by regional pioneer Dr Tom Cullity. Pristine isolation, ancient lands and twin oceans make Margaret River a wine paradise and one of the world’s greatest environments to grow ultra-premium Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. These varieties, alongside Shiraz and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends are the primary focus at Vasse Felix. All wines are estate-grown in Vasse Felix’s four Margaret River vineyards then estate-made and bottled within its state-of-the-art winemaking facility. Vasse Felix is regarded as one of Australia’s draw-card winery destinations and welcomes all visitors, daily for a host of wine and culinary experiences.

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Juniper Estate is a producer of premium wines in Wilyabrup, the heart of the remote, environmentally pristine Margaret River winegrowing area lying in the south west corner of Australia about 270km south of the state capital, Perth. When the vineyard was planted in 1973 (under its original guise of Wright’s), it was one of only six Margaret River wine producers (along with Vasse Felix, Cape Mentelle, Cullen, Moss Wood and Woodlands); by contrast, today the region boasts in excess of 200 vineyards. No sub-region has been historically more important to the success of Margaret River than Wilyabrup, where the first vineyards were planted and wineries built and which continues to be home to a disproportionately large number of famous, usually small, vineyards.