The grape vine in its wild state is a climber and its natural habitat was the forest. Over 2000 years ago man took the vine and began to cultivate it, presumably for wine. Wine-growers have long known the importance of soil, climate and the grape variety, a combination the French call “terroir”. Today we also understand the importance of viticulture the science behind cultivating the fruit.
OUR ORGANIC PRINCIPLES
It is a well known fact that the creation of a great bottle of wine starts in the vineyard. What is meant by this is that the purity and quality of the fruit will dictate the quality and purity of the wine. Our philosophy behind the cultivation of our vines is simple, if we treat the environment with respect and work with nature, then in return we will be gifted with pure, clean and healthy fruit.
Churchview Estate prides itself on doing our bit to look after the environment. Over the last 20 years we have worked hard to convert the vineyard from a full conventional to an organically operated vineyard. This means that we do not use any toxic chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
The property was originally selected for its fertile and healthy soils and for the mainly north facing slopes capturing the best of the sunlight. This helps with the consistent ripening of the fruit.
The estate is situated on one of the first major slopes heading south towards Margaret River on the Bussell Hwy. This gives us the opportunity to capture the natural runoff of rainfall to fill a number of dams on the property.
The soils consist mainly of gravelly loam with some smaller plots of sandy loam. Some sections also have an underlying slightly clay base. These soils have the capacity to hold their moisture for longer into the summer meaning that the nutrients that are in the soil are available to the plant for longer into the summer.
Most of our rows of vines run north south. This means that the vines and grapes capture the morning sun on the east, grapes are shaded in the heat of the day as the sun is above in the north and the grapes benefit from the cooler afternoon sun in the west. We have a split canopy system which allows for a larger canopy from the ground up. This gives a greater leaf area helping to ripen the grapes more evenly.
A YEAR IN THE VINEYARD
Every vineyard has the same essential annual routine, but there are scores of options open to the wine-grower as to how and when each job is carried out. The decisions of the growers will be dictated by climate, tradition, economics and the pursuit of quality. There have been enormous advances in the science of viticulture and the results of such research is shared world wide. We continously try to make improvements each year learning from our previous experiences and techniques. We also rely on new knowledge as well as a healthy portion of tradition.
Our vines are pruned from June through to August. Budburst starts in spring during September. Flowering begins in middle to late November.
In the middle of December the bunches start to fill out and rapidly increase in size. Late in January the fruit begins a process called veraison. This is where the grapes begin to change colour. It is also when the sugar levels in the grapes begin to rise on a daily basis.
Harvest time can start as early as the middle of February for some white varieties and finish in the middle of April for some red varieties. After harvest and as the season changes the vines turn golden and drop their leaves before coming dormant for the winter months ready for pruning.
THE GRAPE VARIETIES
The 100 hectare property that is Churchview Estate currently has 56 hectares of vines. On the property we grow 16 different grape varieties and this is more varieties on a single vineyard that any other vineyard in the Margaret River region.
The varieties are planted in various blocks across the estate depending on the best location for that variety. Listed below are all 16 varieties.
- Chardonnay (4 clones)
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Chenin Blanc
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Petit Verdot