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Established 1976, Clairault are one of the pioneering estates on Margaret River. A tastefully limited range, from elite vineyards within the very dress circle of prestigious wineries at the heart of Margaret River's most illustrious precincts, Wilyabrup, Yallingup and Karridale. These are the dearest winegrowing terroirs in the Australian west, a place of auspicious soils and stimulating climes, the motherlode of environmentals which yield the most august vintages on the continent. The team at Clairault take a decidedly pastoral approach, biodynamically grown and environmentally sound, a sanctuary to native flora and fauna, their vineyards are managed to a completely natural agriculture. So exclusive.. The kindly cabernet of clairault»
Airline pilots make surprisingly good wine. Their appreciation of the sciences, a respect for the weather and a bird's eye view of the land, all invaluable to the winemaker's art. John Ellis would take every opportune weekend away from his regular New York Paris route, to pursue a passion for viticulture. He planted the first commercial Cabernet Merlot vines in the Hamptons and found time between trans atlantic flights to work vintages amongst the Grand Cru vineyards of La Bourgogne. Ellis ultimately made the great lifelong sea change in favour of our land downunder. He settled on a farmstead outside Leongatha, amongst the slow ripening pastures of Gippsland and established a vineyard called Bellvale... Placing pinot amongst the pastures»
The Australian winemaking industry is grateful to Leontine O'Shea, instrumental in the establishment of Mount Pleasant wines, she sent her son Maurice to France for an education in viticulture right at the outbreak of World War I, gifting him his first Hunter Valley vineyard in 1921. Mount Pleasant are now custodians of some grand old sites, a canon of small, elite blocks of vine that yield a precious range of icon wines, which represent peerless value and readily disappear before release of the following vintage... The legacy of grand old hunter valley vineyards»
Fermoy
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Fermoy
Despite a history of little more than a decade, Fermoy Estate's wines have won acclaim which belies the vineyard's youth

The property takes its name from the town of Fermoy, Co. Cork. Ireland which was founded by an ancestor of one of the original owners.

Fermoy

Its Cabernet Sauvignon scooped a Gold Sheraton wine award within its first year of production and its Merlot and Semillon have also been hailed at both wine shows and in the marketplace. The vineyard was established in 1985, and completed its first vintage in 1988. A total of 14 hectares is now planted which in full production should yield around 160 tonnes of premium fruit.

The winery was built in 1987 to the specifications of the Winemaker Michael Kelly, and has since been expanded to accommodate Fermoy Estate's dynamic growth from 120 cases at first vintage to more than 10,000 cases annually. While Fermoy Estate incorporates leading edge technology, it retains many Old World traditions. The vines are hand-pruned and hand-picked, and by careful fruit selection Fermoy is able to craft distinctive table wines full of unique flavours and characters.

Such high praise is acknowledged by Michael with characteristic modesty. He is happier pressing grapes than pressing the flesh at glamorous restaurant openings. But with dirt in his veins, it was almost inevitable that his career path led him to the rich soils and verdant vines of Margaret River wine country. A fourth generation farmer, his introduction to the wine industry was in 1980 when he was employed by Dr John Middleton at his Mount Mary vineyard in the Yarra Valley, Victoria.

Fermoy

A degree in wine science followed, a course which included a vintage at Domaine Louis Chapuis in the Burgundy region of France.After completing his education he returned to Western Australia and worked at Sandalford, Leeuwin Estate, and on the retail side of the business, before joining Fermoy Estate in 1987. Michael believes that the wines are only ever as good as their ingredients and consequently much effort is lavished on the Fermoy vineyards in the quest for prime quality grapes.

The ten hectare vineyard was planted in 1985, the main varieties being cabernet sauvignon and semillon with smaller parcels of sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, merlot and chenin blanc. The useful blending varieties of malbec and cabernet franc are also grown. To cope with the increasing demand for our products, the vineyard was expanded in 1995 by another 4 hectares. These vines will come on stream for vintage 2000, with an expected total yield of around 160 tonnes.

The soils are gravelly loam, ideal for grape growing, and much emphasis has gone into the cultivation of cover crops of clover and cereals. These are then turned back into the soil to provide a carpet of mulch around the vines as well as important organic matter. The other benefit of course, is the moisture retained in the soil. Less than 30% of the vineyard is irrigated, and then only to maintain the health of the young vines, although there is ample water stored in the two dams on the property.

A wide trellis system has been developed based on the work of Professor Carbonneau of Bordeaux, to expose more leaf area to sunlight, increase air circulation to minimize disease and maintain high quality fruit, whilst substantially increasing yields.

Fermoy