Nestled in the south-west corner of Western Australia, Margaret River is one of the country’s largest and most distinct wine regions. It stretches some 100 kilometres from north to south, around 27 kilometres east to west in parts.
If you understand the soil of a region, you can begin to understand why the vineyards in that region are shaped the way they are. Good vineyards often follow the bounds of the good soil that lies below. Like the patchwork of soil types, the vineyards of Margaret River are small and varied. While the region is spread over 3,000 square kilometres, there are only 54 square kilometres under vine (about 5,000 hectares). Voyager Estate is located in what James Halliday calls the “Golden Triangle” of Margaret River (encompassing Voyager, Leeuwin Estate, and Cape Mentelle). The valley’s gravel soils, microclimate, aspect, and maritime influence form the foundation of the winery’s style.
The winery’s founders, the Wright family, have farmed for over 150 years. In 2008, the Margaret River Wine Industry Association awarded their inaugural Viticultural Excellence Award to Voyager Estate’s vineyard and winery manager, Steve James. At every level, Voyager takes a sustainable approach to viticulture. The winery keeps things as natural as possible. The focus is on supporting a healthy and resilient vineyard through the use of natural inputs, building healthy soil, and encouraging biodiversity, such as beneficial bugs and cover crops. The minimal input methods that nurture the soil force the vines to develop a strong, deep root system. The vines are tough and resilient; in turn, they produce healthy grapes with thick skins. The fruit is not only complex and vibrant in flavour, but also more naturally resistant to disease, so less intervention is needed. The cycle continues.
This holistic style continues in the winery with techniques that allow the wines to express a sense of place. Intervention that would overwhelm and dominate is kept in check. This approach has been at the heart of the Voyager Estate winemaking philosophy for over 20 years. It is the reason the winery has a reputation for balanced, elegant, subtle wines of character and a sense of place that is unique to southern Margaret River.