About Driftwood Margaret River

“The vineyard, draped on picturesque gravelly slopes a stones-throw from the Indian Ocean, provides the free-draining soils and the mild maritime climate perfect for creating flavourful wines of character and distinction.”

Driftwood Estate is a boutique winery set in the stunning Wilyabrup sub-region of Margaret River, Western Australia. Established by Tom and Helen Galopoulos in 1989 on what had previously been a country retreat, the winery immediately received acclaim when its first wine, a Semillon produced in 1993, won a special commendation in a British competition.
In 2009, leading Australian wine writer James Halliday rated Driftwood Estate as one of the best wineries in the Margaret River region. The vine resources are exceptional, having had years of nurturing to ensure they produce premium fruit showcasing the Wilyabrup sub-region beautifully.

The winemaking philosophy behind the Driftwood wines is one of simplicity – quality wines are made in the vineyard. While wine making can have a positive input, having premium quality fruit is essential. This is why Driftwood Estate is so fortunate to be located in one of the greatest viticultural areas in the world, sourcing super premium fruit year in year out. With premium quality fruit, our wine making philosophy is all about protecting and expressing the qualities found in the grapes, so that the wine lover can enjoy the pure, varietal and regional flavours from the Wilyabrup sub-region of Margaret River.

The wines are produced under three labels, The Collection, Artifacts and Oceania.

The Collection range showcases fruit driven, regionally renowned wines that are designed to be enjoyed in their youth – vibrant blends and crisp, clean wines for everyday drinking.

Artifacts are the more complex styles, demonstrating the intense characters old vine fruit can develop, and once in the winery, utilising oak influence and subtle winemaking techniques resulting in wines of strength, elegance and integrity that will drink beautifully young however they will reward careful cellaring.

The Oceania range consists of our specialty wines, which includes a vibrant Sparkling Brut, a generous Sparkling Red, a multilayered Tawny Port and a rich and full red blend.

The beautiful branding takes Driftwood back to its beginnings, with small batch, hand-crafted wines showing how age and experience in the wine world can lead to memorable Collections and stunning Artifacts for people to enjoy now and into the future.


“I believe the best wines are made from balanced vines which are allowed to express themselves in their growth. My viticultural philosophies are based around minimal intervention, where interference with the vines natural growth only happens if absolutely necessary. I believe this is the only way to maximise the flavours we are trying to capture in the bottle.”

Ryan was born in the south-west of WA, so it’s fair to say agriculture was in his blood from the start. As a descendent of the pioneering Gibbs family of Ferguson Valley, Ryan grew up with a close affinity to the land. As the fifth generation on the farm, Ryan carries knowledge and experience in farming gathered over the last 140 years. Holiday and weekend jobs as a teenager always included dairy farming, beef farming and vineyard establishment.
After completing school in Bunbury in 1998, a career in agriculture beckoned. Ryan’s father had the vision to diversify his agricultural production and established a vineyard at Ferguson. This was the main influence for Ryan to study a Bachelor of Science (Viticulture and Oenology) at Curtin university from 1999-2001.

Ryan completed winemaking vintages at Upper Reach Winery in the Swan Valley in 2001, and at Houghton Wines in Nannup 2002 and 2003.

The lure of the vineyard called again and Ryan took a job as Viticulturist/Vineyard Manager for Geographe Viticultural Consultants in 2003 working across all WA wine regions. The diversity of vineyards and experience as part of this role was crucial in providing a solid knowledge base for the future.

In 2009 Ryan became the Principal/owner of Geographe Viticultural Consultants and continues to provide Viticultural management and consulting advice to wine companies across WA.

Ryan held a small consulting role with Driftwood since 2009 but was asked to take the helm in the vineyard in late 2013.

Ryan has a wife and three small children.


“The landscape constantly varies, given character by the abundance of small creeks and gentle valleys as well as the profusion of native trees, shrubs and flowers.”

A report published by John Gladstones in 1965 found that this area had a similar climate to Bordeaux, with low frost risk, plenty of sunshine and equable temperatures within the growing season promoting even ripening.
Essentially, the soils derive from granitic and gneissic rock over which laterite has formed. The region can be divided in three sub-regions: the cooler south between Witchcliffe and Karridale with predominantly lateritic gravelly loamy sands and sandy loams; the warm and sunnier Margaret River in the centre with predominantly gravelly loams, but some gritty sandy loams and granitic gravels; and Wilyabrup in the north with similar soils, but slightly cooler temperatures. This is entirely consistent with style, the wines from Willyabrup being more generous than the highly structured wines of the north and the elegant styles of the south. The region is also subject to southeast trade winds.

The climate is strongly maritime influenced, more so than any other major Australian region. It has the lowest mean annual range of only 7.6C, and for good measure has the most marked Mediterranean climate in terms of rainfall, with only 200mm of the annual 1160mm falling between October and April. The low diurnal and seasonal temperature range means an unusually even accumulation of warmth, while spring frosts are very rare and highly localised. Overall the climate is similar (in terms of warmth) to that of Pomerol and St Emilion in a dry vintage, hence the quality of its Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and so forth.

The landscape constantly varies, given character by the abundance of small creeks and gentle valleys as well as the profusion of native trees, shrubs and flowers. The principal soil type is that of the ridge which runs from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin. It is predominantly gravelly or gritty sandy loam formed directly from the underlying granite and gneissic rock.

Driftwood Estate

Driftwood Estate is located in the fertile Wilyabrup heartland of Margaret River. The winemaking philosophy is dedicated to treating the grapes carefully while expressing their varietal characteristics and reflecting the terroir. The wines have stepped up a notch in the past couple of years.

OWNERS : Tom Galopoulos and Helen Galopoulos
WINEMAKERS : Ely Jarvis and Paul Callaghan
ANNUAL CRUSH : 200 tonnes
VARIETIES : Chardonnay, Semillon, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache

CELLAR DOOR : 3314 Caves Road, Wilyabrup
OPEN : Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
WINE PRICES : $15 – 30
PHONE : 9755 6323
EMAIL : sales@driftwoodwines.com.au
WEBSITE : www.driftwoodwines.com.au
DISTRIBUTION : Cellar Door, Retail, Mail Order, Wholesaler, Online

Driftwood Artifacts chardonnay 2016 ($32)

One of the best chardonnays yet from Driftwood. There is a sophistication in the winemaking here that has maximised the fruit qualities. Fig and cashew richness with stone fruits. A trace of graphite and orange zest adds to the complex mix. The palate is sustained with good concentration and intensity.
SCORE 92/100 CELLAR 8 Years

Driftwood Artifacts cabernet sauvignon 2015 ($32)

A most stylish and elegantly poised cabernet showing some most attractive varietal intensity. Black olive and blackcurrant fruit intensity dominate with the savoury oak worked expertly into the mix. Tannins are firmish and supportive. Builds to a long finish.
SCORE 90/100 CELLAR 10 years

Wine Making Process

Our Winemakers



“I am passionate about grape growing, believing that wines which inspire people can only be made from grapes sourced from vines that are balanced, in harmony with their environment, producing vibrant and unique expressions of their place of origin.”

Born 1970 in Goroka, Papua New Guinea, Ely lived in PNG for 4 years before returning with her family to Dunsborough, WA in early 1974. She moved to Busselton where her father, a GP, had a practice, originally with Kevin Cullen and Bill Pannell, who were instrumental in establishing a young Margaret River wine industry. Ely credits these family relationships with her first insight into the winemaking ‘lifestyle’.Ely completed an Honours degree in Horticultural Science at UWA and Murdoch University in 1989-1992. After 2 years working at UWA in the Soil Science and Plant Nutrition Department as a Research Assistant, Ely decided to pursue viticulture and winemaking, the reason she had chosen to study horticulture in the first place, enrolling in a Post-Graduate Diploma of Oenology at Adelaide University. Before beginning her studies, Ely worked as Ashbrook Estate in the vineyard for 6 months followed by a short stint in the vineyards at Mosswood Estate before landing a vintage job at Cape Mentelle as the “Lab Rat” in February 1996. This introduction to the industry inspired her passion and she completed winemaking studies in June 1997.

Since entering the wine industry, Ely has done vintage and cellar stints at Hardy, Cassegrain Vineyards (1997), Simi Winery in California (1997), and Hartenberg Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa (1998). In June 1998, an opportunity to return to the region she loves so much saw Ely accept Cellar Foreman at Cape Mentelle Vineyards (CMV). Ely took on the Production Manager/Winemaker’s role as well as making the wine for Fonty’s Pool Vineyards in Pemberton, a joint venture. In mid-2005 Ely left CMV to join Fonty’s Pool Vineyards as their Senior Winemaker as Fonty’s Pool acquired full ownership of the label and sought to retain Ely’s winemaking expertise.

To concentrate on being a mum to 3 small children and with a winemaking husband, Ely briefly left the industry in 2007. Ely then accepted a lecturing position in August 2008 with Curtin University, Margaret River, in the Bachelor of Science (Oenology and Viticulture) degree.

The desire to make wine from exceptional grapes has always driven Ely and with this she decided to start up her own consulting business, Margaret River Wine Solutions, securing a winemaking consulting contract with Driftwood Estate in late 2013.

“I am passionate about grape growing, believing that wines which inspire people can only be made from grapes sourced from vines that are balanced, in harmony with their environment, producing vibrant and unique expressions of their place of origin. My role is to nurture this in the wine to bottle. Margaret River has the ideal climate to achieve this, and at the same time is an awesome place to bring up our kids! Truly lucky!”

Driftwood Cellar Door

3314 Caves Road Wilyabrup Western Australia, 6282


Phone 08 9755 6323 or 08 9755 6033





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