MT BARKER WINE REGION
MOUNT BARKER WINE REGION: HISTORY
The Mount Barker wine region is a sub-region of the Great Southern wine region in Western Australia. The first wine grapes were planted in 1859 when George Egerton-Warburton planted vines on his St Werburgh’s property following that up with the first vintage in 1861. Early work looking at the region’s suitability to grow wine commercially was undertaken the 1930’s by horticulturalist Bill Jamieson followed by further research in 1955 by Professor Harold Olmo from the University of California, Davis. Prof Olmo recommended, in his report, that Mount Barker and the Frankland area would be suitable for table wines in the European style.
Further work was done By Dr John Gladstone in 1963 supporting this research and then in 1965 the first cuttings were planted at Forrest Hill by Jamieson and Houghton’s winemaker Jack Mann. The region has never looked back since.
THE GREAT SOUTHERN WINE REGION
The Great Southern Wine Region incorporates the Mount Barker, Albany, Denmark and Frankland regions. The Region is renowned for the wine varieties: Riesling, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. In recent years the Great Southern Riesling’s have been fast gaining a worldwide reputation of excellence.
Soils are typically marri soils with lateritic gravelly sandy loams. Kendenup, in the Mount Barker region is located about 15km north of Mount Barker. The Stirling Range National Park lies approx. 15km to the north east of Kendenup. These mountains were formed some 2.5 to 2.9 billion years ago and form a range approx. 65km long with Bluff Knoll (1059m) the highest peak. The Stirling Range National Park is a great place to visit with well marked out routes to climb many of the peaks. Take a drive through Kendenup along Red Gum Pass Road then on to Stirling Range Drive for a magnificent drive through the ranges to Chester Pass Road.
The Climate for the region varies as distance from the Southern Ocean varies. Rainfall decreasing the further inland (north) and east you go. The Southern Ocean has a great cooling effect on the region. The Mount Barker region has a similar ripening period and sunshine period as the Bordeaux region but cooler overall temperatures due to the Southern Ocean influence. Annual rainfall varies from approximately 500mm in the Kendenup region to about 700mm west of Mount Barker.
Our Kendenup grapes are irrigated but rainfall can vary greatly each month from year to year. Many Mount Barker vineyards receive adequate rainfall to allow dryland farming of grapes.