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About Willow Bridge Wines

Willow Bridge Estate is family owned and operated by principals Jeff and Vicki Dewar, who bought the picturesque 180-hectare hillside property in 1996 after an exhaustive search of the state for the ideal vineyard site from which to realize their shared vision of producing world class wines which are both opulent and accessible.

The estate is located in a hidden jewel of an area known as the Ferguson Valley which, at that time, was home to only a few small vineyards. Immediately planting 60 hectares of vines and then building a state of the art winery (the first winery in the area) in time for their first vintage in 2000, established Willow Bridge as the pioneering estate of the area and demonstrated the family’s confidence in the property and resolve to see their vision become reality.

 

 

About the Vineyard

The estate is sited high on the western watershed of the Darling Ranges, with our vines enjoying spectacular views over the coastal plain, and looks down on the neighbouring Margaret River wine region across the waters of Geographe Bay. The vineyard is 25km from the coast as the crow flies, and receives the cooling afternoon sea breeze during summer. At an elevation between 230 and 280 meters, the estate is nearly two degrees cooler than the coastal plain.

Annual rainfall is relatively high at 900mm, however 80% of this falls over four months in our winter when the vines are dormant. The summertime growing season is very dry and sunny, allowing the area consistency between vintages possibly unrivalled in the world of wine.

The soils here are all “Marri soils”, named for the regal Marri trees they support. Weathered from granite over some 2500 million years, such pockets of freedraining deep red gravelly loams over clay are prized by vignerons in Western Australia.

The 60 Ha of vineyards were established in 1997. Planting around two hills allowed  us to match vine varieties to the choice of a full 360°of different aspects to the sun. The region is phylloxera free, so all vines were planted on their own roots and planting along the ridge line has minimised the risk from spring frosts. Initial plantings of the classic French varieties of Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, have since been bolstered with small blocks of exotic Viognier and Tempranillo.

About the Region

Located in south west Western Australia between the capital city Perth (pop 1.7 mil), and Margaret River, the Geographe Wine Region has a diverse range of viticultural environments tied together by the consistency of their moderate, maritime influenced climate. Vineyard sites range from highly maritime vineyards in sea-level limestone sands on the broad coastal plain, to all a range of high quality soils and local climatic influences in the hills of the Darling Range which runs the length of the region some 20 to 30 km inland.

One exceptional viticultural area in the hills of the Geographe Wine Region is the Ferguson Valley, the home of Willow Bridge. This incredibly picturesque area is just 20 minutes from the coastal city of Bunbury (pop 70,000) and around 2 hours south of Perth.

This area is blessed with the unique combination of a growing season climate which is extremely sunny and dry, yet where the temperature is moderated by both cooling ocean breezes and elevation. This, combined with an abundance of the red gravelly loam soils so prized by Western Australian vignerons, makes for a region where wine quality and consistency are virtually unconstrained.

Aside from wineries, The Ferguson Valley is known as one of the most naturally beautiful areas of Southwest Western Australia – one of only 34 listed Biodiversity Hotspots worldwide. Willow Bridge itself borders the 17,000 Ha Wellington National Park which is home to some of Western Australia’s most magnificent eucalypt forests; jarrah, marri and yarri (Blackbutt), as well as spectacular gorges, waterfalls and trails.

 

Varieties Produced

Willow Bridge produces the following wiones:

-   Chardonnay
-   Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
-   Chenin Blanc
-   Pinot Chardonnay
-   Fume Sauvignon Blanc
-   Sticky (Viognier)
-   Rose (Tempranillo,Merlot, Sangiovese)
-   Shiraz
-   Cabernet Merlot
-   Tempranillo

Ordering the Wines

Willow Bridge offers all wines online via their website, as well as having Wine Club options available.

 

My Thoughts on the Wines

The current 2011 and 2012 releases of the Willow Bridge Dragonfly range each show excellent varietal definition, attentive winemaking and are approachable in their youth. In terms of quality, all retail below $20 and represent tremendous value, with the reds in particular offering cellaring potential

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