Viticulturist Tim Quinlan was admiring the leaf colour and vine health of the Grace Farm chardonnay vineyard when he heard the good news.
The small Wilyabrup producer had been named winner of the ‘Emerging Talent’ award in Ray Jordan’s West Australian Wine Guide 2016. The authoritative guide was published on Tuesday.
"It means a great deal to me given that it is a West Australian wine guide in which we are in the company of the best WA producers,” Tim said. “Ray has a vast knowledge of WA and Margaret River wines, so we are thrilled that he chose Grace Farm for this accolade."
The announcement is the latest in a series of accolades for Grace Farm, the highlight being two gold medals in the Sydney International Wine Competition, also announced this week.
“We have long been convinced of the talents of Tim Quinlan and our winemaker Jonathan Mettam,” said Grace Farm owner John Mair, “but it’s always wonderful to have official confirmation of what they are achieving.”
“My youngest daughter Phoebe and son George have also been putting in a huge effort on the sales and marketing front to get the wine out there. We know it’s good, but this kind of recognition definitely helps. It’s a competitive industry,” he added.
Grace Farm’s vines are now into flowering and are already setting berries. Tim has just finished a rigorous shoot-thinning sweep of the vineyard, to increase sunlight and airflow to the developing bunches. If the spring conditions are anything to go by, the 2016 vintages should also be excellent. “The lack of coastal gales this spring has led to a brilliant start to flowering and fruit set,” he said.
The news came on the eve of the Margaret River Gourmet Escape, which will be held over the weekend of November 20-22.
“We are looking forward to sharing our wines with the public at the Gourmet Escape,” said John Mair. “It’s a family business and several of us will be there, along with Tim and Jono. We always enjoy meeting other producers in the local industry and consumers who pass by our stand. It’s a great space for an exchange of ideas and tastes.”
Grace Farm is situated in the so-called ‘golden triangle’ of the Margaret River wine region, in the lee of the Leeuwin Ridge in Wilyabrup. The maritime influence provides cooling breezes, which ameliorate the effects of summer heat and produce elegant flavour profiles in the wines. The vineyard is characterised by the distinctive forest grove soils, which are typically of low to medium fertility. Vines are cane-pruned on a single cordon wire with a vertically trained canopy and are managed with biological inputs such as compost, fish emulsion and kelp.
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