The Jilyara vineyard is planted on ancient gravelly loam soils, typical of those found throughout Margaret River. The native trees and shrubs in Wilyabrup Reserve protect the vineyard from prevailing winds blowing in from the Indian Ocean, but still allows for enough breeze to cool the vineyard on summer afternoons. The vines run north south on a gentle north facing slope allowing for sunlight to penetrate from both sides of the vine, resulting in even ripening across the vineyard.
There is a total of nine hectares under vine; 6.4 ha of Cabernet Sauvignon, 0.9 ha of Malbec, 0.9 ha of Sauvignon Blanc, as well as a small amount of Petit Verdot and Merlot. The 1 ha block of Chardonnay is dry grown on a seperate site in the Wallcliffe sub region, a magic spot on the banks of the Margaret River.
There are 2 different clones of Cabernet planted at Jilyara, the well known and much prized within the region, Houghton Clone, and a clone newer to Margaret River that is showing a lot of potential, 337. The Houghton Clone is thought to have arrived in Western Australia via South Africa in the 1800s, and first planted in Margaret River in 1967. It has been the favoured clone in the region for many years due to its small berry size, dark berry flavours and ripe tannin profile, it makes wines with both power & elegance, the type of wines Margaret River is famous for. The 337 clone was imported from Bordeaux, France and performing very well in Margaret River, it has small berries, generous fruit forward flavours and firm tannins that provide a great structure to the Jilyara Cabernets.
The Chardonnay vineyard is all Gingin clone, the clone which is the secret to many of Margaret River’s top Chardonnays. Gingin clone made it’s way to Margaret River from California, via Gingin, north of Perth, where it was first planted back in the 1950s. Gingin clone Chardonnay is often identified but its ‘hen and chicken’ berries, and makes chardonnay known for citrus & stone fruit characters, elegance and depth of flavour.
The name ‘Jilyara’ was inspired by the abundance of bees in the vineyard and derives from ‘Djilyaro’, meaning ‘bees’ in the local indigenous Noongar language. Bees have always been essential to the production of great wines. Though not necessary to aid the vines with pollination, bees help maintain a healthy ecosystem within the vineyard, and it is thought, aid with capfall resulting in better fruit set, & even a reduction in disease in the vineyard. We’ve equipped Jilyara with four beehives, one at each corner of our property – our own honeycomb corners, helping to keep our crops fertile and healthy.