Wilyabrup was the chosen location for the first vines planted in Margaret River. Pioneers included Dr Tom Cullity, Dianna and Kevin Cullen and Bill Pannel. Today Wilyabrup is acknowledged as the epicentre for superior Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon and superb Chardonnay and Semillon.
The typical soil profile is gravelly loam of depth between 500 -800mm over a clay base. The gravel facilitates water drainage whilst not supporting excessive vigour. The clay base retains moisture and encourages root penetration.
The climate in Margaret River provides superior growing conditions that are seasonally consistent and best surmised as Mediterranean. Rainfall is winter dominant, with approximately 80% falling between April and September. The prevailing dry conditions during the final fruit ripening period in early Autumn allow for low humidity and disease incidence.
The varieties selected for planting in 1982 were Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Bruce extrapolated that if the red grapes were so suitably matched to Margaret River’s soils and climate might not Bordeaux’s white varieties too?
This idea was the genesis for Lenton Brae’s first blended Semillon Sauvignon Blanc released in 1987.
Today the estate vineyard comprises some 8 hectares. Chardonnay (clones Gin Gin, P58, 76, 95 and 96) and Cabernet Sauvignon (Houghton clone) predominate with smaller parcels of Semillon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and a Margaret River first in Pinot Blanc (0.5 hectare). Yields are typically low and average approximately 5 tonnes per HA for Chardonnay and Cabernet and 6-8 tonnes per Ha for Semillon.
The estate continues to be harvested by hand and all stages of production are carried out onsite, you can view the winemaking process year round with heightened activity during the harvest period March-April.