Located a 3 hour drive south of one of the world’s most geographically isolated cities, Margaret River, is famed for it’s surf, idyllic lifestyle, pristine environment and world class wines. Surrounded by ocean on three sides Margaret River enjoys a maritime climate, with cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers, ideal for grape growing. With about 1000mm of rain annually water stress is low, and as the majority comes in winter disease pressure through the growing season is minimal, meaning less sprays required to maintain a healthy vineyard. The rolling surf can be heard while working in the vineyard, and being so close to the Indian Ocean ensures not only reliable rainfall, but means there is no worry of extremes such as frost, or excessive heat.
The land that extends across the Margaret River region is millions of years old, the soils mainly made up of decomposed granite, are typically a gravelly loam, although some areas are more sandy than others. The gravel in the soil allows for good drainage, while loam retains the nutrients & moisture the vines need. Beneath these top soils lies a clay base which holds the winter rains, and the vines can tap into this water later in the growing season as the top soils start to dry.
The viticultural potential of Margaret River was originally identified in 1955 by Professor Harold Olmo of the University of California, and further investigated by Dr John Gladstones who published a research paper on it’s suitability for viticulture in 1966. This was a catalyst for the some of the regions first commercial plantings with Dr Tom Cullity planting Cabernet & Malbec at Vasse Felix in 1967, closely followed by others including the Cullens, the Horgans at Leeuwin Estate and the Pannells at Moss Wood. The majority of the early plantings were in the area is now known as the Wilyabrup sub-region, one of six sub-regions identified by Dr John Gladstones based on soil, topography and climate, Wilyabrup in particular is revered for it’s generous yet elegant Cabernets.