Gralyn Estate was established in 1975 by Merilyn and Graham Hutton and is situated in Willyabrup in the heart of the Margaret River wine region in Western Australia. The organic vineyard and winery is small, family owned and operated, with non-irrigated, low yielding mature vines. The Estate is recognized as one of Western Australia’s most prestigious boutique wineries, having been awarded numerous gold medals and trophies at both national and international wine shows. The full bodied dry red wines are superb examples of strength and finesse, with the potential to age gracefully. They have been selected for Qantas First Class international flights and judged as equal to the famous Premier Grand Cru Classe Bordeaux wines such as Château Latour and Château Mouton Rothschild. Winestate Annual Magazine 2013
The influential American wine writer Robert M. Parker, Jr. describes the Gralyn Cabernet Sauvignon as “one of the finest Cabernet Sauvignons I have ever tasted from Margaret River.”
The Gralyn Cellar Door is situated on Caves Road, Willyabrup and is open daily for tastings and wine sales. Gralyn wines are not sold in restaurants or retail outlets, however they can be ordered online and delivered Australia-wide and overseas, where possible.
|Proprietors||Merilyn and Graham Hutton|
|Winemaker||Dr. Bradley Hutton (son) BSc(Hort)Hons, PhD(Botany), W.Aust.; GradDip(Oen), Adel.|
|Sales||Annette Baxter (daughter), Ann Jones and Rachael Foulsham|
|Location||Situated 100m above sea level, 3km from the Indian Ocean|
|Climate||Mediterranean, wet winters, average rainfall 1050mm. Warm dry summers, cool onshore winds|
|Soil||Gravelly loam topsoil over a clay subsoil|
|Viticulture||Unirrigated, organic vineyard practices|
|Varieties||2.5ha Cabernet Sauvignon, 0.75ha Shiraz, original planting included 1.5ha Rhine Riesling|
|Trellising||Cane pruned vines with Vertical Shoot Positioning (VSP)|
|Crop||Average 7.5 tonne per ha|
In 1968 Graham and Merilyn Hutton (nee Price) married and moved to Willyabrup. Graham was a dairy farmer from Capel, and Merilyn a Home Economics teacher from Perth. The couple met through Junior Farmers (a club for rural youth) when Merilyn was teaching at the Busselton High School. The early years were spent clearing their 230ha farm, fencing, planting pasture and rearing beef cattle.
The early 1970’s were particularly tough, with beef prices very low. In 1975 they decided to diversify their beef farming operation and planted a 4.5 ha vineyard on their farm. Merilyn recalls that it was an early bottle of 1973 Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon that won them over – “we realized even in those early days there was something very special about the quality and flavour of the Willyabrup grapes.” Merilyn and Graham were self-taught winemakers. Merilyn’s knowledge of chemistry plus a few short wine quality control courses at the University of WA, assistance from the WA Department of Agriculture, and lots of reading, provided the foundation for their new career.
The vines are now mature – forty years old, non-irrigated and planted on some of the finest gravelly loam soils in the Willyabrup region. The clay subsoil, about a metre down, acts as catchment for the winter rains, making possible the dry grown vineyard. The quality of the fruit being produced is exceptional, with organic vineyard practices producing grapes with perfect balance, intense flavour and fine ripe tannins – essential building blocks for great wine, when coupled with reliable growing seasons. Margaret River is recognized as one of Australia’s most consistent wine growing regions. The Huttons have continued to run beef cattle on their property, enjoying the balance between viticulture and farming.