Wine is made in the vineyard …
It is a truism that only great wine can be made from great grapes. But the growing of great grapes depends more on the “terroir”, a French term for a combination of soil, climate, mineral components, topography, and vine varieties; rather than the simple planting and growing of vines in any particular spot. To locate a “terroir” that can provide you with great grapes is one of the most important aspects of any vineyard at the point of its inception.
Margaret River is a wine region that extends from Cape Naturaliste in the north to Cape Leeuwin in the south, an area that is ~100km long by ~30km wide. It is recognised as a region that produces fine wine, but the location of these great vine sites is diverse. This spatial spread of excellent wines within a wide range of soils and microclimates had been identified through the assignation of various wine precincts within the Margaret River Appellation by John Gladstone, a pioneer of the wine industry in Western Australia. These precincts are as below and go from warmer to colder, with a few of the wineries that are located within each precinct listed:
Yallingup Precinct: Coastal and most northern, the hottest and driest precinct of the region. Wineries of note include: Amberley Estate, Clairault, Driftwood Estate, Happs Vineyard, and Deep Woods Estate.
Carbunup Precinct: Set predominantly in the rich soils behind Geographe Bay this area has the largest plantings of the region but very few cellar doors. Wineries of note in the region and that use the grapes from the area include: Evans and Tate, Vasse Felix, Vasse River Wines and Becketts Flat.
Willyabrup Precinct: The first planted and the most famous of the Margaret River appellation, Willyabrup provides some of the most sublime wines made in Australia. Wineries of personal note from the area include: Moss Wood, Cullens, Pierro, Woodlands, Gralyn, Juniper, Vasse Felix, Ashbrook, and Arlewood.
Treeton Precinct: The smallest and most inland precinct of the region, this precinct is still underdeveloped due predominantly to poorer soils and a greater area of natural bush within the district. Wineries of note include: Treeton Estate, Brookwood Estate, and Palandri Wines.
Wallcliffe Precinct: This precinct rivals Willyabrup for quality grapes with many famous wines of its own coming from this precinct. Wineries of note include: Leeuwin Estate, Voyager Estate, Cape Mentelle, Minot, Redgate and Rosa Brook.
Karridale Precinct: Most southern, the coldest and wettest precinct of the region, and perhaps the most at risk to vintage variation. Wineries of note include: Three Hills, Hamelin Bay, and Rockfield.
Located within the Wallcliffe Precinct, Blue Poles Vineyard has a longer ripening period than the more northern vineyards due to the cooler temperatures during the growing season, an earlier sea breeze due to a topographical quirk of the area and higher rainfall keeping soil temperatures lower during early spring. These factors we believe will aid in ripening full fruit flavors without the premature sugar development common in warmer climates, and the structural integrity of fine tannins and elegant acid balance, giving the resulting wine made from this site an opportunity to be of the highest quality.