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    Our History

A LOOK AT OUR HISTORY

Vasse Felix was established in 1967, here's a snapshot of some milestones throughout history that have contributed to the Estate you experience today.

The reports

Following Professor Harold Olmo's (University of California Davis) report recommending Australia's south-west to plant wine grapes, Dr John Gladstones (University of Western Australia) publishes a report isolating the Margaret River cape for it's climatic similarities to Bordeaux. His report was published in the local Margaret River newspaper.

1967

The first vines

Dr Thomas Cullity had been trial planting vines in the South-West since 1965. Upon learning of Dr Gladstones' report, he spent around a year searching for the perfect site of “red gravel in redgum country, with clay about 18 inches below the surface.”
 
Finally locating the ideal site, he planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec and Riesling to establish the Vasse Felix vineyard; Margaret River's oldest vines.

1971

The first vintage

The first vintage, off 4 year-old vines, was in 1971. The harvest was a disaster due to bunch-rot and silver-eyes. The winery vats and machinery were built and purchased in the preceding months. 

"I will not forget the exhaustion and disappointment."

Dr Thomas Cullity

1972

The first wines

The first Vasse Felix - and Margaret River - wines are made included Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling.

"In 1972, off a small crop, we produced a Riesling wine that created quite a stir at the Perth Show [it won a gold medal]... It was this wine and the subsequent publicity that brought Margaret River wines to the attention of the Australian public. We had similar success with the Cabernet Sauvignon in 1973." Dr Thomas Cullity.

1973

First cabernet trophy new winemaker

Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon wins a Gold Medal at the Perth Royal Show. (Pictured left, Cullity with Stuart Verman at 1973 Perth Royal Show).
David Gregg is appointed winemaker of Vasse Felix. (Pictured centre, newspaper article, 1973).

1984

Gregg Family Acquire Vasse Felix

The Gregg family purchase Vasse Felix from Dr Thomas Cullity. This vintage Vasse Felix turned global, with headlines reading 'Vasse Felix hits the big apple'.

1987

Holmes a Court Family Acquire Vasse Felix

After noticing the estate listed for sale in the classified section of The West Australian newspaper, The Holmes a Court Family acquires Vasse Felix. The Family has remained owners of Vasse Felix since.

The first vintage of Vasse Felix Classic Dry White is made.

1989

Vasse Felix Restaurant Opens

The Vasse Felix Restaurant opens. It was originally built as a 'champagne room' which had been the dream of former owner David Gregg. The Restaurant today is recognised as one of Australia's best.

1990

ONE VINTAGE SOLD OUT IN THREE DAYS!

The 1988 Hermitage wins the 'Chairman's Trophy for Best Wine at the WA Wine Awards' and sells out in three days.

Clive Otto joins Vasse Felix as winemaker (he becomes Chief Winemaker in 1992).

1995

THE FIRST HEYTESBURY

The first Heytesbury is made, and is a runner up for the Jimmy Watson Trophy at the Melbourne Royal Wine Show in 1996.

In 1996 a Reserve Chardonnay is made and is relabelled as Heytesbury Chardonnay in 1997.

1999

New Winery Opens

A new state-of-the-art winery was built and opened and the old winery and barrel hall is converted into an Art Gallery.

2006

Home Vineyard Expansion

Vasse Felix's Home Vineyard in Wilyabrup begins its most significant expansion since establishment as the Estate narrows its focus to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

Virginia Willcock is appointed Chief Winemaker (October, 2006)

2010

Vasse Felix Adds Vineyard in Karridale

Vasse Felix acquires a new vineyard in Karridale, a 'sub-region' located at the south of Margaret River's cape which experiences a slightly cooler climate due to its increased cloud cover and sea breezes off the Southern Ocean.

The vineyard is a specialty site for white varieties Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

2012

HEYTESBURY CHARDONNAY MAKES HISTORY

The 2010 Heytesbury Chardonnay wins 11 trophies in wine shows to become one of the most awarded in Australian history. A year of significant critical acclaim:

  • Top 100 International Winery, Wine & Spirits USA
  • Wine, Winery & Winemaker of Year, West Aust. Good Wine Guide
  • Australian Winemaker of Year (Virginia Willcock), Gourmet Traveller WINE
  • Regional Restaurant of Year, West Aust. Good Food Guide

2015

Vasse Felix Adds Gnarawary Vineyard

The Vasse Felix Estate expands to include a fourth specialty vineyard, Gnarawary, located in the Walcliffe sub-region of Margaret River. The site has exceptional potential for Chardonnay and Shiraz.

Present Day...

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