About Cape Grace Wines

One of the great little wineries in Margaret River

In 1996 Robert & Karen Karri-Davies planted their 15 acre vineyard on the headwaters of the Wilyabrup Valley. Cape Grace is dedicated to consistently producing exceptional single vineyard wines and are committed to producing handcrafted wines that are site specific. The rewards for theses pursuits include 3 trophies and over 170 medals.
Cape Grace has been previously included in one of James Halliday’s “Ten of the Best New Wineries” listings and is currently rated a 5 Star Winery in James Halliday’s 2017 edition of the Wine Companion, with out Reserve 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon receiving 97 points. Total production is limited to 1500 – 2200 dozen cases depending on the season, and the wines are sold primarily via the Cellar Door and mail order.

BACKGROUND

Growing under the house flag of a pioneering South West family, located a stones throw from the stars of the Willyabrup Valley lies Cape Grace’s carefully tended vineyard.

A great-grandson of timber baron M.C. Davies of Karridale, Robert Karri-Davies is handcrafting fines wines full of the flavour and character of Margaret River.

In 1996 Robert and Karen Karri-Davies planted their 15 acre vineyard, managed under organic principals on the headwaters of the Willyabrup Valley. From the start Robert & Karen set out to produce hand-crafted, luxury wines at Cape Grace. The fact that ‘great wine is grown in the vineyard’ was of vital importance, so when the farm on which Dr Tom Cullity originally wanted to establish Vasse Felix became available, Robert and Karen knew they had fifteen acres of prime grape-growing vineyard.

Welcome to Cape Grace Wines

One of the Great Little Wineries!

Cape Grace was planted in 1996 by Robert & Karen Karri-Davies whose family have been part of the Margaret River region since 1875.
Cape Grace’s handcrafted, single vineyard wines are generous with the flavour and characters of our unique Wilyabrup sub-region. The vineyard is managed under organic principals and traditional wine making is used, with our reds gently hand plunged and basket pressed. With depth, style and character our wines have earned an impressive array of medals, reviews and followers over the years.

Discover one of Margaret River’s Great Little Wineries when you visit – the authentic, rustic tin-shed-in-the-forest winery and during spring you can delight in the magnificent display of wildflowers.

Our Story

Cape Grace is a real family affair – originated, owned and run by Robert and Karen Karri-Davies – with a fascinating local history.
In 1875, Robert’s great grandfather, MC Davies (pictured centre of the front row above), built a timber mill at Karridale with jetties at nearby Hamlin Bay and Flinders Bay to ship timber to England and the Far East; he also built the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse so his ships and others would not run aground in the treacherous waters. Later, he established a livery stable and way station at the railhead near the banks of Margaret River.
In 1996, one hundred years after the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse was built, Robert and Karen planted their 15-acre vineyard on the headwaters of the Wilyabrup Valley.

From the start they set out to produce handcrafted, single vineyard wines managed under organic principals. Their belief that ‘great wine is grown in the vineyard’ was of vital importance, so when the farm that Dr Tom Cullity originally wanted to establish Vasse Felix on became available, Robert and Karen knew they had a prime grape-growing site.

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY

Cape Grace Wines is as much about nuance and art as it is skills and passion. Our wines are a true reflection of the timeless art of winemaking and local terroir.

Handcrafted with patience and care our wines aim to capture the character and flavours of the unique Wilyabrup sub-region of Margaret River and it’s blessed growing season, and are a focused expression of our highly individual ‘forest’ vineyard site.

Production is deliberately low – in 2000 about 500 cases, today around 2200 cases. We sell most of our wine through the cellar door and consequently through mail order around Australia, with some to Singapore, Hong Kong, the UK and California.

Estate grown fruit is vinified on the property, with free run juice and light pressings fermented in new, one and two year old French oak, from a carefully selected range of coopers. Minimal interference along with strict temperature and hygiene regimes allows the grapes to express their individual flavour profiles.

Picked in the cool of the early morning to retain the fragile and vibrant primary fruit flavours; our optimally ripe white varieties are treated with great respect during the wine making process to allow the true expression of their flavour profiles. We achieve this by whole bunch pressing and adhering to strict temperature control during fermentation. Gentle lees stirring during maturation in the finest French barriques ensures the perfect balance between oak, lees and fruit characteristics.

Harvesting of the reds is determined in the vineyard when the fruit displays rich, ripe flavours and the tannins have matured to ripeness. The grapes are harvested in the cool of the early morning to ensure retention of these fruit driven flavours.

Fruit is sorted then gently hand-plunged for seven to ten days in open fermenters and then left on skins for the slow extraction of fine tannins. The must is then carefully basket pressed and gently transferred to French barriques for 12-18 months maturation. After numerous barrel tastings and blending trials, the final barrel selection is made, gently fined and bottled.

The first vintage 2000 Cape Grace Cabernet Sauvignon received a precedent-setting win for Best Wine at the 2001 Sheraton Wine Awards.

This set a quality benchmark for all our future wines and this challenge has collected Cape Grace Wines 3 trophies and over 165 medals.

The fifth vintage the 2004 Cape Grace Chardonnay earned an impressive six gold medals and the James Busby Trophy for Chardonnay at the National Wine Show of Australia in 2006.

The 2008 Cape Grace Shiraz won a Trophy for the Best Individual Vineyard Wine at the Royal Hobart International Wine Show.

In the current edition of James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion Cape Grace is proud to receive a 5 star rating along with our Cabernet Sauvignon receiving 96 points.

Cape Grace really is one of the great little wineries!

VITICULTURE

With gravelly loam, consistent temperatures and plenty of sunshine during the growing season, Dr Gladstone’s report of 1965 identified the Margaret River Wine Region as having similar characteristics to that of Bordeaux.
Cape Grace vineyard lies in the Wilyabrup sub region of the Margaret River Wine region, the jewel in the so called regional crown and as such was the site on which Dr Tom Cullity originally wanted to establish Vasse Felix, thankfully for us the farm was not for sale and the rest as they say is history.
Every vineyard is unique, with regards to the relationship between soil and climate and there is an old saying, “Great wines are created in the vineyard” and with this in mind our vineyard is managed with total respect for the relationship between the soil health and vitality and the correlation to vine nutrition and fruit production.
The vineyard is consistently cared for by a team of specialist contractors under the constant supervision of Robert, with no cost spared in producing fruit of the highest quality.
The Cape Grace vineyard is grown naturally using organic principals and incorporates some aspects of biodynamic farming in an attempt to preserve and enhance the natural environment allowing our fruit to be authentically expressive in terms of depth of flavour and structure. This pristine fruit allows us to create individualistic wines that are true to their site and season.
Soil health and vitality are of major importance and our aim is to “put back” more than we take in terms of soil nutrition. In autumn, after vintage and throughout winter, agistment for Dorper sheep is successful in reducing pasture and gives a lovely sprinkle of manure. That combined with chicken poo pellets and organic compost create a rich elixir of nutrients and compounds that facilitate soil fertility and thus vine nutrition and health.
Healthy vines are better able to protect themselves from pests and disease via their naturally stronger immune system. We nurture this health by using naturally occurring Sulphur and Copper sprays in the vineyard, this assists in keeping disease at bay whilst not upsetting the vine’s natural micro environment and the soils and microbes they contain. Whilst necessary, heavy machinery is kept to a minimum to avoid soil compaction.
Cover crops are used between rows to reduce weeds, assisting in balancing the nitrogen in the soil and are employed to provide organic matter back to the soil. Healthy soil, rich with organic matter, has a greater ability to capture and utilize rainfall and moisture and therefore irrigation is kept to a minimum to aid in the concentration of the fruit flavour profiles.
Cane pruning is used in most blocks with the vines grown on a north-south, vertical shoot positioning (vsp), 4 wire trellis system to facilitate even sun exposure and thus ripening, ensuring pristine fruit with slow and steady development. Hedging, shoot thinning and leaf plucking are part of the canopy management strategy.
We strive to protect and nurture the 10,000 vines on this vineyard that are our old friends. We have served each other well over the past 17 vintages and look forward to many more by constantly researching and investigating vineyard practices and evolving our own.

Family Pets & Resident Peacock

Adjacent to the cellar door is a collection of Robert’s Australian parrots. Dusty is the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo and is 28 years old and the Major Mitchell Cockatoo is Mardie and she is 30 years old. They are a bonded pair.

The long billed eastern Corella is a refugee from the city – he was too noisy for the neighbours and can speak, he may even ask you a question.

Andrew is the resident Peacock and is girlfriend is an African Guinea Fowl and they are approximately 15 years old.

The empty aviaries and large cages are for a future display of the vineyard parrots which include some 6-7 varieties. The large empty enclosure is for a red tailed black cockatoo breeding and release to the wild program under consideration.

Robert and Karen Karri-Davies

Robert was a successful corporate photographer for twenty years, working in Australia, Asia and Canada. In addition, he’s been a heavy equipment operator, a welder and geological field assistant in both Canada and Australia.

Robert keeps up to date through his consultant  viticulturalist, attending field days, seminars and trade publications. Robert was also the hands on winemaker at Cape Grace for the first 12 years, under the guidance of Mark Messenger but has since handed these reigns over to Dylan Arvidson. These days you will still find Robert in the vineyard or sharing his passion or wine with customers in the cellar door.

Karen was an international sales and marketing executive for the hospitality industry. Today Karen looks after the sales and marketing of Cape Grace Wines.

Mark Messenger – Consultant wine maker

Mark graduated from the University of Adelaide (previously Roseworthy College) in 1987. He is currently chief wine maker at one of our neighbours, Juniper Estate and has been producing award winning wines for over 25 years. Mark has also spent nearly a decade making wine  the world over and has been involved in the production of wine with renown producers such as Robert Mondavi (USA), Cloudy Bay (NZ), Veuve Clicquot (USA) and Cape Mentelle (AUS). In 2014, Mark was a finalist for Australia Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year.

Mark now works with some of the regions oldest vines and his vineyard and winemaking philosophies are aligned with that of Cape Grace. With his guidance the fruits of our labours are crafted into wines that truly reflect their variety, site and season.

Dylan Arvidson – Hands on Winemaker

Dylan Arvidson is the go to hands-on winemaker at Cape Grace. He studied at Charles Stuart University and graduated from Curtin University in Margaret River in 2011. Dylan was a winemaker at Juniper Estate and works well in conjunction with Mark. He too has completed vintages in France and New Zealand as well as researching and tasting wine styles in France, Portugal, Spain and California.

Dylan’s wine making approach is a traditional one with minimal gentle intervention, including a love affair with our old basket press. Innovations are welcome as long as they allow our  small parcels of single site fruit to be guided into wines that are true to their varietal characteristics whilst displaying a sense of place.

Rusty – hairy doorbell

A hairier door bell there has never been!!

Being a small family run affair, we are always busy doing something and Rusty will let us know when you arrive so we can make sure we are in the cellar door to guide you through a tasting.

He loves a scratch behind the ears and is partial to a treat or two. One of his good buddies is Dylan’s pup, Flash and the two are often seen rounding each other up!

THE REGION

The undulating landscape created by the water courses of the ridge that connects Cape Leeuwin in the south and Cape Naturaliste in the north, with the well drained ironstone gravel soils and healthy stands of Marri and Jarrah trees, were indications of ideal vineyard growing sites identified by Dr John Gladstone in 1965. Gladstone recognised the region possessed a similar climate to Bordeaux, a moderate maritime climate with low frost risk and plenty of sunshine to encourage even ripening- all the elements for growing pristine fruit.

And so began the advancement of the Margaret River Wine Region……..and some 45+ years since the first vines were planted, the region is recognised as one of the world’s finest.  The original plantings were in the Wilyabrup sub region with Vasse Felix and Cullen Wines being the original Pioneers.

Cape Grace Wines is fortunate to be established on a pioneering site (were Vasse Felix wanted to plant their vines) and in 1996, Cape Grace was the 27thwinery in the Wilyabrup Sub Region.  In 2015 there are over, 150 wine producers and grape growers in the Margaret River Appellation. Today the Margaret River Wine Region commands over 20% of the premium wine market in Australia, whilst only producing 3% of Australia’s total wine production.

The region has a reputation for producing wines with delightful individual fruit character that bring forth the sense of place for one of the most enchanting environments on earth and is filled with an amazing diversity of attractions and activities.

A natural beauty, the region is a treasure trove of native fauna including kangaroos, possums and bird life residing in the towering karri forests, magnificent caves, coastal heaths and carpets of seasonal wildflowers.

Hugged by the ocean on three sides, the region offers stunning white sandy beaches, numerous reefs and tranquil bays, dramatic cliffs and rivers, ideal for a diverse range of water activities including swimming, snorkelling, paddle boarding and canoeing. The surfing is world class with The Margaret River Drug Aware Pro being part of the international circuit.

The visual splendour of our region is a sight to behold and a bird’s eye view of these jewels can be gained on the numerous walk trials including the Cape to Cape Track “Australia’s Ultimate Multi-Day Coastal Walk Track” which stretches from Cape Naturalist in the north to Cape Leeuwin in the south and has many sections that can be walked and explored as pleasant strolls.

We hope that you enjoy your visit to our region as much as we enjoy living here!

For further information on our beautiful region please visit the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association website.

Cape Grace Wines

The Karri-Davies have been part of the South West since 1875. Cape Grace is family owned and operated. Their 15-acre Wilyabrup vineyard is managed under organic principles. All the small batch wines are made at Cape Grace with the red wines hand plunged and basket pressed. Both red and white wines have achieved show success.

 

OWNERS : Robert Karri-Davies and Karen Karri-Davies
WINEMAKERS : Mark Messenger and Dylan Arvidson
ESTABLISHED : 1996
VINEYARD LOCATION : Wilyabrup
ANNUAL CRUSH  : 35 tonnes
VARIETIES : Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Chenin Blanc

CELLAR DOOR : 281 Fifty One Road, Cowaramup
OPEN : Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
WINE PRICES : $20 – 85
PHONE : 9755 5669
EMAIL : info@capegracewines.com.au
WEBSITE : www.capegracewines.com.au
DISTRIBUTION : Cellar Door, Mail Order, Selective Restaurants, Online

Cape Grace sauvignon blanc semillon 2017 ($22)

Really lively and punchy blended white with all the beautiful fragrances and perfumes of these varieties. It’s crisp and fresh with a tropical fruit, light, grassy character splashed with a dash of lemon juice. The finish is sustained. Nice current drinking.
SCORE 89/100 CELLAR 2 Years

Cape Grace chardonnay 2016 ($38)

Lots happening in this complex chardonnay from these now mature, established vines. Lots happening, but delivered with delicate restraint. Gentle oak infusion with the wild yeast and lees influences adding subtle creamy texture with white peach and nutty nuances driven to a long finish.
SCORE 93/100 CELLAR 6 years

Cape Grace cabernet franc 2015 ($40)

Okay, something a little different. Viva la difference. It’s a very limited production wine from a variety generally used as a blending component. This is heady stuff. Highly perfumed with violets and red currant notes and even a bit of raspberry confection. Smooth and seamless palate, but one that has structure and poise. A nice alternative variety and worth a serious look.
SCORE 93/100 CELLAR 5 years

Cape Grace shiraz 2014 ($35)

Shiraz has been a consistent performer from this vineyard, and this is another excellent wine displaying the distinctive savoury, dry, dusty characters of Margaret River, but with a balancing plump, fleshy opulence. A delightfully friendly wine of poise and presence. Seamless integration with grainy tannins and a gravelly palate texture.
SCORE 92/100 CELLAR 10 years

Cape Grace Reserve cabernet sauvignon 2014 ($85)

Mighty impressive follow-up to the very good 2013. I reckon this one just shades that wine. It’s a limited production number that’s been given the kid gloves treatment in the winery, with hand plunging and basket pressing. Scented notes of heady blackcurrant and cedary with a palate that is deep concentrated blackcurrant. Grainy tannins and well-weighted oak. Yep, you can drink it now, but really, give it time and you’ll see what a marvellous wine this will become.
SCORE 96/100 CELLAR 15 years

Wine Making Process

CONTACT

Phone 9755 5669
info@capegracewines.com.au

Website

https://www.capegracewines.com.au/

Cape Grace Wines

281 Fifty One Road, Cowaramup Western Australia, 6284

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RAY'S WINE GUIDE 2017