The vineyard has the soils, topography and climatic conditions to produce the finest wines, according to Grace Farm viticulturist and vineyard manager, Tim Quinlan, who was involved in the initial soil-testing and feasibility phase. Each vineyard block has distinctive rock and soil characteristics which Tim carefully matched to the correct variety. He directed the owners in the planting of grapes for which the region is famous – chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, semillon, cabernet sauvignon and the blending varieties malbec, petit verdot and cabernet franc.
The initial vines were planted in 2006. Grace Farm was one of the first vineyards in the district to plant the vines into weed-matting, avoiding the repeated herbicide sprays which often accompany vineyard establishment. The vines are grown in a sustainable way with organic-based fertilizers and compost produced on site. While this meant a longer-than-average time to first vintage, the quality of the resulting wines and the reduced environmental impact made it worth the wait.
The distinct geology of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste ridge, which supports the area’s biodiversity, is also fundamental for the soil condition of the vineyard. Over time, the granitic gneisses that underlie much of the ridge are weathered to form mineral-rich loamy soils. The rich underlying soil profiles carry through to the character of the wine. The network of streams that connects to the main arterial creek line of the Cowaramup Brook creates gently sloping vineyards with optimal drainage, and also results in the vineyards’ varying aspects (they face in different directions), which allows for optimal conditions to suit the different varieties. The proximity to the coast exposes the property to consistent fresh coastal breezes that ventilate and aerate the vines, as well as buffering temperatures to maintain a consistent range.