Galafrey is a legendary name in Mount Barker, a groundbreaking winery that many thought would drift out of family hands after the untimely death of its founder, Ian Tyrer. But, at only 25, his daughter Kim took up the mantle and is now the CEO and winemaker, producing classic renditions of Mount Barker riesling, shiraz and cabernet, while also taking a particular interest in müller-thurgau and whole-bunch fermentation for shiraz and pinot noir.
Kim Tyrer was born a year after her family first planted vines on their Mount Barker property in 1978. She grew up on the vineyard as it and their Galafrey label grew alongside her, but she went on to study visual arts rather than winemaking and worked as a professional artist after graduating. Being the only child, Kim was asked by her father, Ian, if she wanted to take over the estate, or if he should be building it up for a sale before he retired. She took the former option, working three days a week to learn the ropes. Sadly, Ian passed away not long after, and Kim was thrust into the role of running the vineyard and winery in 2003.
Kim’s degree in visual arts is from the esteemed Western Australian School of Preforming Arts, and she has two paintings hanging in the Art Gallery of Western Australian. And while Kim had spent most of her life on a vineyard and in the winery, she was not formally trained, so the path to becoming confident enough in the winery took until 2011 for her to take full control. Along the way, she has been helped by friends and family. “My mother and business partner Linda Tyrer and hubby Nigel Rowe, who runs the vineyard, are great support. We all work together, and I often bounce ideas of them, although the end decision is mine,” she says. “I am a self-taught winemaker and am often self-conscious about this. It makes me work even harder, be more focused.”
Galafrey is planted to chardonnay, riesling, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, cabernet franc, pinot noir and merlot, with perhaps the most acclaim coming from the regional stars, riesling and shiraz. “My father dug holes all over WA to find the best property to grow grapes, and here we are in Mt Barker. A great but isolated area. Gravel loam soils, 600 m above sea level, with a climate like Bordeaux. The vineyard is dry grown and has a great sense of home. I like my wines to reflect that. When you drink my wines, you can tell someone has made it with passion from a sense of place.”