About Plantagenet Wines

Plantagenet Wines embodies the best of the west with its distinctive wines of finesse and elegance. As a pioneer of the Great Southern region, Plantagenet’s reputation is celebrated for its rich heritage, its expressive wines and family-owned sensibility, making it one of the most trusted wine brands in the country.

The rich tapestry of the Plantagenet story begins in 1968, when English migrant Tony Smith envisaged great things for his land in Mount Barker. With his small inheritance, he bought a farm called Bouverie in the Plantagenet Shire and literally planted the seeds of the Plantagenet future – Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes bore the fruit of what would become some of the most highly awarded and sought after wines, both nationally and internationally. The fruit was picked in 1974 and the wines showed exciting potential, enough for Smith to convert a local apple packing shed into a winery and get to work making tight and lean Shiraz with typical regional spiciness and full-bodied cabernet. Embracing the conditions of the Great Southern’s cool climate, Smith went on to plant further varieties, including Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The vineyards all benefit from their coastal proximity, enjoying abundant rainfall and cool twilight breezes from the neighbouring Southern Ocean.

In 1999, Plantagenet Wines was purchased by Lionel Samson & Son, Western Australia’s oldest family-owned business, a company with a rich heritage of its own.

Lionel Samson and his brother William stepped off the Calista sailing ship in 1829 onto South Beach in Fremantle, Western Australia and started the first family-owned business in the area. The Samson brothers emanated from a wealthy English family who had a pioneering spirit for the new land called Australia. In 1829 Lionel purchased Fremantle town lots 27 and 28 in the first state land sale. Lionel Samson elected to start a merchant liquor and general import-export business. In 1835 he secured the first liquor license in the state, which remains current today.

Today, Lionel Samson & Son has a range of business interests in industrial packaging, heavy woven bulk bags, flexitanks for moving liquid in containers, wine and beer wholesale distribution, and the proud owner of Plantagenet Wines. It’s sister companies are Sadleirs Transport and Sadleirs International, national transport and international freight forwarding companies also owned by the family.

The future for Plantagenet looks exceptionally bright. With a long-term approach and a focus on winemaking evolution, Plantagenet is sure to succeed in a market swamped by supermarket-owned labels and big company indifference. Wine lovers respect the proud heritage of one of Australia’s most celebrated wineries and can depend on Plantagenet to deliver a wine for every occasion.

Plantagenet (n.)

English royal house which reigned from 1154 to 1399 (Henry 2nd to Richard 2nd), the name coming from the nickname of Henry’s father, Geoffrey, Count of Anjou, who habitually wore a sprig of broom – L. planta genista.
Rural shire, or region, surrounding the town of Mount Barker, just north of the port of Albany in the south west of Western Australia. Like many local landmarks, it was named by early English settlers who favoured royalist titles.
Timeline

1968 – Tony Smith planted trial vineyards of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon on his Bouverie property in Denbarker.
1971 – Further plantings, including Riesling, carried out in the Wyjup vineyard.
1974 – Plantagenet Wines produced it’s first vintage and the iconic three lions brand was registered.
1975 – An apple packing shed in Mount Barker was purchased and converted into the region’s first winery and cellar door.
1975 – David McNamara employed as Plantagenet’s (and the regions) first winemaker.
1976 & 1977 – Plantagenet Shiraz and Cabernet win first show Gold medals, respectively.
1979 – Rob Bowen (the first qualified Oenologist in WA) employed as Plantagenet’s second Winemaker.
1980 – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varieties added to the Bouverie vineyard.
1988 – John Wade became Plantagenet’s third winemaker and Gavin Berry joined the team as assistant winemaker.
1988 & 1989 – Vineyard expansion continued with the establishment of the aptly named Rocky Horror vineyards (due to massive sub-surface rocks).
1992 – Lionel Samson & Son purchased a one-third share in Plantagenet Wines.
1994 – Gavin Berry took over as Chief Winemaker.
1996 – Lionel Samson & Son purchased a second share in the winery.
1999 – The fifth vineyard named Rosetta was established, west of Mount Barker.
2000 – Plantagenet Wines was fully purchased by shareholders Lionel Samson and Son. Tony Smith remained as Chairman.
2004 – Plantagenet Wines celebrated its 30th anniversary.
2005 – Richard Robson became the fifth Plantagenet winemaker.
2006 – Sangiovese planted at the Bouverie vineyard.
2007 – John Durham began as winemaker just prior to vintage.
2009 – Lionel Samson and Son celebrated its 180th anniversary. Jordan Ellis began as vineyard manager.
2012 – Cath Oates returned to her home state of Western Australia and became Plantagenet’s seventh winemaker.
2013 – Plantagenet Wines harvested grapes for its 40th vintage.
2015 – Cath Oates returns to her old stomping ground of Margaret River to pursue her own project and assistant winemaker Luke Eckersley takes the helm as Plantagenet’s Senior Winemaker.

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Plantagenet Wines have developed an understanding that life, like good wine, needs to be well rounded and balanced. With this in mind we’ve created a culture of caring for country and working towards sustainable practices throughout our production system.

Caring for Country

Plantagenet Wines is very aware of how precious it is to reside where biodiversity is of international significance; with this awareness Plantagenet Wines has implemented a number of strategies for sustainability.

Adopted Efficient Vineyard Practices

A selection of nitrogen fixing crops and native grasses are grown between the rows of vines to improve water retention, soil structure, soil biodiversity, fertility and reduce water run-off.

Fungicides and chemicals are only used on the estate when absolutely necessary. With the exception of clearing weeds for the establishment of new vines or creating legally required fire breaks, herbicides are not used in any of the vineyards. We also use sheep (hence the image above) through the winter months to graze the vineyard; eliminating the need for herbicide use and vineyard mowing during the wet period which are both harmful to soil health.

Our vine canopy management program improves ventilation and lessens the risk of fungal attack which in turn reduces chemical usage. Guinea fowl have been introduced into the vineyard as effective pest controllers.

Restored and Regenerated Land

The replanting of native vegetation in previously cleared areas that are not required for vines is an ongoing commitment to returning these areas to their original state. This brings welcomed biodiversity to the site which in turn assists with pest control.

In October 2007, Plantagenet was granted government funding for a Waterway Regeneration Project at the Rosetta property. The work was conducted under the auspices of the Great Southern Catchment Group and involved the clearing of weeds and pasture species from the land adjacent to the creek line. Fallen trees were then pushed into the creek to slow the water flow, create small ponds and raise the fallen water table to assist in the establishment of new native vegetation along the creek. This creek line was then fenced off. The project also included the planting of a range of locally native species.

Minimised Waste

A by-product of pressing grapes is the skins, seeds and stems; referred to as marc. For many years this by-product was sold to a local pig farmer. More recently it has been recognised as a rich organic product beneficial to the soil. It is now returned to the vineyard as mulch and in turn improves the water-holding capacity, health and biodiversity of the soil.

Minimised Environmental Impact

Winery buildings at Plantagenet Wines are constructed with maximum insulation to reduce refrigeration requirements.

Senior Winemaker – Luke Eckersley

Luke was raised on a family farm in Harvey in the Great Southern. After completing a Bachelor of Science in Oenology and Viticulture at Curtin University of Technology he travelled to Europe and the United States of America to gain some very valuable international wine making experience before returning to WA to pursue his career and passion for winemaking.

Luke has worked vintages in several Western Australian wineries before taking his first assistant winemaker position in the Great Southern Wine Region at Forest Hill Winery in early 2012 to take up a Senior Winemaker position with Rockcliffe Winery working with Coby Ladwig to craft some of the regions’ most awarded wines.

“What a great opportunity to work with an established industry leading winery with a very strong viticultural and winemaking reputation. I am looking forward to being involved in all aspects of the winemaking process in this role and am excited to head a very talented wine making team.”

Will Mahoney – Production Manager

Will had an early start in the wine industry, during school holidays he undertook work experience in the vineyard and winery at Houghton in the Swan Valley and also at Amberley Estate in the Margaret River region. After completing high school, Will continued to work at Amberley Estate, training in all aspects of wine production & subsequently gaining qualifications in cellar operations & winery OH&S which helped him progress to Cellar Supervisor. You could say he fell in love with the wine industry whilst working at Amberley Estate as this is where he met his future wife.

Will has worked at several large Western Australian wineries in Cellar Manager and Bottling Manager roles, gaining a well-rounded knowledge of all aspects of winery management. Will accepted the position of Production Manager at Plantagenet Wines in August 2016.

By accepting the challenge of recommissioning the bottling line at Plantagenet which had been shut down for over three years, Will has sparked life into the bottling and warehouse aspects of the winery.

Jordan Ellis – Vineyard Manager

Jordan’s passion for wine production began as a young man in the late 1990s. After completion of a Bachelor of Science Degree at Murdoch University, Jordan spent the ensuing years gaining experience viticulturally between the Great southern and Margret River wine regions. Subsequent to travel aboard Jordan embarked on further viticultural study before commencing a successful partnership with Plantagenet wines in 2009 as viticulturist.

Throughout his career Jordan has worked with Western Australia’s leading wine produces, achieving numerous accolades along the way. The most recent of which was wine of the show, for the 2012 Plantagenet Riesling at the prestigious Western Australian Qantas Wine Show. Jordan’s philosophy is to grow grapes in a manner which is sustainable and true to the teroir of the rugged Great Southern. He strongly believes in the ascendancy of the Great Southern’s cool climate Shiraz, Cabernet, Riesling and Chardonnay varietals.

Plantagenet Wines

Plantagenet Wines embodies the best of the west with its distinctive wines of finesse and elegance. As a pioneer of the Great Southern region, Plantagenet’s reputation is celebrated for its rich heritage and expressive wines. The Rieslings are very good and the cabernets and shiraz rise to great heights in some years.

OWNERS : Lionel Samson Sadleirs Group
WINEMAKERS : Luke Eckersley
ESTABLISHED : 1974
VINEYARD LOCATION : Mount Barker
ANNUAL CRUSH : 800 tonnes
VARIETIES : Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir

CELLAR DOORS : Lot 45 Albany Highway, Mount Barker
OPEN : Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
WINE PRICES : $25- 70
PHONE : 9851 3111
EMAIL : cellardoor@plantagenetwines.com
WEBSITE : www.plantagenetwines.com
DISTRIBUTION : Cellar Door, Wholesaler, Online, Mail Order, Retail

Plantagenet York chardonnay 2016 ($35)

Excellent young chardonnay from Mount Barker. Spicy aromas of citrus and ripe peach with a little cashew and butterscotch characters. The palate is rich and textured. Builds towards a clean lingering finish. An attractive style for drinking over the next few years.
SCORE 90/100 CELLAR 4 years

Plantagenet Lancaster shiraz 2015 ($35)

One of the best recent shiraz from Plantagenet. Spicy and savoury notes merge on the nose with licorice and dark satsuma plummy notes. The palate is soft and supple with a grainy gravelly texture. Fine supple tannins and fine understated oak. Slightly minerally finish.
SCORE 93/100 CELLAR 7 years

Vineyards

Plantagenet’s total 126 hectares of vineyard have been carved out of the region’s distinctive Marri soils named after the massive native Marri, or Red Gum trees that grow here. The soils are gravelly loams with good drainage over a base of clay, sand or the ironstone rock, ensuring that the vines are not over-watered or over-fertilised, thus allowing for optimal fruit concentration.

The climate is cool-temperate and strongly influenced by the proximity of the Southern Ocean. Rainfall is plentiful and even during the hottest Australian summer, daytime temperatures are moderated by cooling evening sea breezes. The warm days and cool nights of the Great Southern allow maximum retention of the varietal flavours and aromas required for complex wines.

The combination of these ancient soils and cool maritime climate offers an environment perfect for growing premium wine grapes and making wines that are expressive of the place from which they come.

Bouverie

Named after Helen Pleydell –Bouverie, the mother of Plantagenet Wines’ founder Tony Smith, Bouverie was the first vineyard to be planted. Established in 1968 these old vines now produce the exceptional fruit required for our signature Plantagenet Range of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinot and Chardonnay.

 

Wyjup

This was the second vineyard to be planted in 1971 by Plantagenet Wines’ founder Tony Smith. Wyjup is the aboriginal name for the area which is some 40 km south west of Mount Barker. Originally one of 42 War Service Land Settlement Farms it had been used solely for sheep and cattle grazing until purchased by Tony in 1970. The vineyard is still the backbone of the Plantagenet Range with consistently exceptional fruit being produced each vintage.

 

Rocky Horror

Located 15 km south of Mount Barker, Rocky Horror vineyard was planted in 1988. It first took two years to clear the intended vineyard of the massive subsurface boulders, some of which were the size of small cars! Once removed, many of the boulders were transported to nearby port town of Albany and used for the construction of a breakwater in King George Sound.

 

Crystal Brook

Crystal Brook is located 4 km from Rocky Horror 1 and was planted in 1997. Like Rocky Horror 1, the site was also dotted with massive subsurface boulders. This time the rocks were crushed, mixed with organic matter and fertiliser and added back to the soil. The vines thrived in this fertile environment, and within five years the fruit was already full of flavour.

 

Rosetta

Rosetta, originally a farming property, was purchased and planted by Plantagenet Wines in 1999. Being 15 km west of Mount Barker the site offers a slightly warmer and drier site than our other vineyards and was chosen for the different growing conditions it offered.

Wine Making Process

Our Winemakers

 

Senior Winemaker – Luke Eckersley

Luke was raised on a family farm in Harvey in the Great Southern. After completing a Bachelor of Science in Oenology and Viticulture at Curtin University of Technology he travelled to Europe and the United States of America to gain some very valuable international wine making experience before returning to WA to pursue his career and passion for winemaking. Luke has worked vintages in several Western Australian wineries before taking his first assistant winemaker position in the Great Southern Wine Region at Forest Hill Winery in early 2012 to take up a Senior Winemaker position with Rockcliffe Winery working with Coby Ladwig to craft some of the regions’ most awarded wines. “What a great opportunity to work with an established industry leading winery with a very strong viticultural and winemaking reputation. I am looking forward to being involved in all aspects of the winemaking process in this role and am excited to head a very talented wine making team.”

Cellar Door

45 Albany Highway,
Mount Barker
Western Australia, 6323

CONTACT

Phone 9851 3111
cellardoor@plantagenetwines.com

Website

www.plantagenetwines.com

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RAY'S WINE GUIDE 2017