Voyager Estate, Margaret River Steve James

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  • Voyager Estate, Margaret River

    In the Stevens Valley in the subregion of Wallcliffe, Voyager Estate is one of Margaret River’s oldest vineyards, first planted in the late 1970s (though it was called Freycinet Estate until 1991). Today, under the watchful eye of viticulturist Steve James, the vineyard occupies over 100 hectares, with the regional stars chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon taking the lead, though there are another 12 varieties planted, including tempranillo and grenache. Recent organic certification now applies to the winery and over a third of the vines, with the remainder not far behind.

  • Swinney, Frankland River

    With the viticulture managed by Lee Haselgrove, the Swinney Vineyard is one of Frankland River’s prime sources of quality grapes, supplying producers as game changing as Brave New Wine to those as established as Penfolds, as well as filling the bottles of the Swinney family’s eponymous label. With about 160 hectares under vine, the site is managed sustainably, with a specialisation in the regional stars – cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and riesling – but they have also planted varieties to balance increasingly erratic weather patterns, including a significant investment in bush vine grenache, a variety and a growing method that is rare in the Great Southern.

  • Gralyn Estate, Margaret River

    Founded by Graham and Merilyn Hutton in 1975, Gralyn Estate – on the prime stretch of Caves Road in Wilyabrup – is one of Margaret River’s oldest vineyards. In what was originally a diversification from their cattle farming operation, the pair have never chased the same path as other Margaret River pioneers, instead opting to remain decidedly compact. There are just 3.5 hectares of shiraz and cabernet sauvignon under vine, with wines made in an array of styles, from profound reserve bottlings to unoaked reds and even a late harvest off-dry cabernet. The vineyard is now managed with organic practices (not certified) by Scott Baxter, who is pushing the boundaries even further with the elimination of copper and sulphur in the vineyard in his sights.

  • Frankland Estate – Isolation Ridge, Frankland River

    Frankland Estate’s Isolation Ridge Vineyard has become an enduring symbol of one of the world’s most remote wine regions. The almost 40-hectare property was planted in 1988, with Hunter Smith the second generation to tend the vines, evolving the sustainable farming to achieving organic certification over a decade ago. Riesling leads the charge at Isolation Ridge, but the Bordeaux red varieties, shiraz and chardonnay aren’t too far behind, with newer additions like mourvèdre and grüner veltliner already making striking wines.

  • Cape Mentelle – Estate Vineyard, Margaret River

    One of Margaret River’s founding wineries, Cape Mentelle has grown from humble beginnings to be one of the nation’s most iconic producers. With the nearly 40-hectare Estate Vineyard at the heart of operations, viticulturist David Moulton has ceased the use of any synthetic products as of 2020, with a proud history of sustainable management evolving to organic practices (not certified). The Estate Vineyard is the centre of red wine production, and is responsible for Cape Mentelle’s most iconic bottlings, with their flagship cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and zinfandel all largely coming from the property’s old vines.

  • Wilimee, Macedon Ranges

    Wilimee is one of the oldest vineyards in the Macedon Ranges, originally planted in the early 1980s to pinot noir and chardonnay. A cool site at around 600 metres, sparkling wine production was a cornerstone for over two decades, before hard times stopped operations. In 2013, Ben Ranken and Sally Richardson bought the ramshackle vineyard and set about resurrecting it through regenerative agricultural practices. While the Wilimee brand has expanded, Ranken still cultivates much of the site to sell grapes to some of the region’s most respected makers, including Matt Harrop and Joshua Cooper.

  • Thousand Candles, Yarra Valley

    The Yarra Valley’s Thousand Candles – which was launched to much fanfare in the 2011 vintage – has settled into a long stride, with the benefits of a decade under the biological farming methods of Stuart Proud returning big dividends. The business is built on making their own wines as much as it is selling ultra-premium fruit to renowned local makers, including Levantine Hill, Coldstream Hills and Santolin. While the wine on launch was firmly pitched at the top end of the market, the focus for Proud, who both grows – alongside vineyard manager David Ammerlaan – and now makes, is to reflect fruit and vines in an unadorned, hype-free way, a reflection of place and the season.

  • The Wine Farm, Gippsland

    It’s all in the name really. The Wine Farm in Koonwarra, South Gippsland, is a vineyard-centric operation, where Neil and Anna Hawkins lovingly tend their 3 hectares of vines according to Demeter biodynamic methods (in conversion). Making varietal wines from pinot noir, shiraz, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris and gewürztraminer, as well as a rosé and pét-nat, the style is lithe and mineral forward, with a mission to reflect the land and how it’s farmed in the glass – a feature that is becoming ever clearer as the years pass.

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