Voyager Estate
28 March 2023 | Voyager Estate


Welcome to the next in our series of snippets straight from Chief Winemaker Tim Shand, revealing all the magic and momentum of our first certified organic vintage...

"The cool nights tell us it’s autumn, but the weather stays sunny and reliable. Older heads in the region caution patience as we start to harvest the reds, it looks to be a vintage that will keep giving if the fruit is allowed to hang. A Goldilocks season indeed - not too hot, not too cold and rain at just the right times.

We had a foray into Shiraz this week. W4 block is always first in, and with low-ish crops and a well-balanced canopy the fruit spectrum ripened evenly into blueberry/mulberry notes with good intensity. We grabbed a touch of Viognier to co-ferment at about 6%.

We also did a small, speculative pick in U11 (our best block) knowing that what we may lose in richness we’ll gain in spice and natural acidity, capturing savouriness and tension with an earlier pick.

The white harvest finished with our intriguing old blocks of Chenin and Semillon. Both planted in 1978 next to the winery, they sit apart from our broader plantings and ripen to their own clock. The fruit characters are very different (more opulent and complex), and we pushed them as far as we felt comfortable to make richer styles from these varieties. They will see skin and whole bunch ferments for enhanced texture and weight, and a nice mix of oak (the Semillon also has our concrete egg to itself for the next few months).

A sneaky bottle of 2015 Pol Roger Vintage Brut (excellent, despite the very warm year there!) was opened in the cellar to celebrate an entirely successful white grape harvest where we were able to pick at a leisurely pace and capture the generosity and detail of the season."

Time Posted: 28/03/2023 at 2:48 PM Permalink to VINTAGE VIGNETTES: WEEK FIVE Permalink
Voyager Estate
23 March 2023 | Voyager Estate


Welcome to the next in our series of snippets straight from Chief Winemaker Tim Shand, revealing all the magic and momentum of our first certified organic vintage...

"As the winery fills up, week four of harvest has been all about Semillon and Chenin Blanc.

This has been my first extensive experience with Semillon. As delicious as it is, it presents challenges to vigneron and winemaker alike. In the vineyard it ripens a bit slower than Sauvignon Blanc, and loves to get botrytis at the merest whiff of rain. We really don’t want to rush and pick it underripe though, and are searching for a lemon barley character that indicates the vine has peaked.

In the winery, Semillon grapes tend to ‘slip out of their skin’ when pressed, leaving a little jelly blob behind that is very difficult to press the juice out of! Grapes that keep their flesh on the skin give the press some purchase to squeeze out the juice.

Semillon grapes do not afford us this opportunity and those jelly blobs block up the screens of the press, stopping juice from draining out. So it’s a long, painful process extracting juice from Semillon. But it’s worth it, absolutely the most delicious juice to drink fresh during vintage!

Our main block of Semillon is U10; adjacent to our best Shiraz and Cabernet sites this may be the best dirt on the property. The block carries a bigger crop in the eastern side, probably due to a heavier and more generous soil profile. As a result, the two halves of the block ripen at a different pace.

We grabbed the west prior to the rain on Friday, but were forced to wait it out four long days and nights to go in and pick the east. The birds had a party in the meantime, but we were able to pick around this and the second harvest came in with a similar fruit profile to the first and we're happy with that.

We have one more pick of Chenin and Semillon to come, from small blocks adjacent to the cellar door car park. These will be picked Thursday, followed by a quiet celebration marking the end of the white grape harvest. We’ll be into Shiraz and Merlot by the weekend."

Time Posted: 23/03/2023 at 1:22 PM Permalink to VINTAGE VIGNETTES: WEEK FOUR Permalink
Voyager Estate
22 March 2023 | Voyager Estate


This month marks an important milestone in our sustainability journey, as we celebrate the news that our entire Voyager Estate vineyard is now officially Australian Certified Organic.

Voyager Estate’s journey to organics began many years ago. Our vineyards have been farmed sustainably for decades, so our conversion to organic farming and pathway to certification was just a natural next step. In 2004, the team began trialling an organic farming approach to our heritage Old Block Cabernet, and our organics journey was formalised over a ‘kicking the dirt’ chat with proprietor Alex Burt in 2016. The official three-year certification process began in 2017.

The first stage of our transition was completed in January 2020, with the first vineyards becoming certified organic and our winery also becoming a certified organic processor, enabling the wines to be certified organic from the 2020 vintage onwards.

Since beginning the journey, we have shifted our operations in various ways, including using beneficial bugs to combat pests, making our own compost, and evolving our irrigation system to conserve water. For our team the key driver is to consciously build a healthy and resilient vineyard and leave the land in a better condition than we found it.

A huge congratulations to our Vineyard and Winery teams who have worked tirelessly to meet the rigorous standards required to achieve this accreditation – we could not be prouder!

Voyager Estate's official conversion brings the total area of certified organic and biodynamic vineyards in Margaret River to 738 hectares, or 12.6% of the region. 

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Time Posted: 22/03/2023 at 3:36 PM Permalink to A PROUD MILESTONE Permalink
Voyager Estate
13 March 2023 | Voyager Estate


Welcome to the third in our series of snippets straight from Chief Winemaker Tim Shand, revealing all the magic and momentum of our first certified organic vintage...

"A few days’ breather from harvesting to start the week and a good chance to consolidate our Chardonnay – checking ferments and topping barrels. Broadvale Block 6 Chardonnay was nearly through its first fermentation, so we inoculated to kick off secondary malolactic fermentation (to soften the acid) which will transpire over the next month or so.

By Wednesday morning it was time to push go on picking our Chenin Blanc fruit for the Voyager Sparkling Chenin Blanc. Whilst we love to see crisp acidity in the sparkling base, it’s crucial not to jump too early with picking Chenin as it can carry a green bean or herbaceous note. Again, we were blessed by the season here as the fruit ripened evenly, and we picked the fruit at excellent acidity for sparkling (11 g/L) with pink lady apple notes and not a hint of greenness!

Thursday we were into the Sauvignon Blanc, which is a big portion of the harvest for us. It’ll take five days to pick all the sauvy fruit for the Voyager Estate Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, with the Semillon usually a week behind. The picking decision here is around finding a distinct passionfruit flavour in the fruit, again avoiding greenness and any hard acidity. The window came at a low baumé (sugar level) this year.

Silver-eyes, twenty-eights and crows have descended upon us en masse, so the vineyard crew are busy netting the Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet to keep them safe over the next month. We might get a touch of rain on Wednesday, but so far conditions have been ideal for an excellent red harvest. We wait in hope..."

Time Posted: 13/03/2023 at 3:42 PM Permalink to VINTAGE VIGNETTES: WEEK THREE Permalink
Voyager Estate
8 March 2023 | Voyager Estate


In exciting news we’re proud to share that we’ve achieved Silver Membership status with International Wineries for Climate Action.

IWCA said of our achievement: “Voyager Estate has made sustainability a core mission for decades. The winery’s achievement of IWCA silver level is a reflection of their dedicated efforts to measure and reduce their emissions and champion climate action in the industry.”

IWCA is a collaborative working group of wineries committed to reducing carbon emissions across the global wine industry. Members at the Silver level commit to becoming net zero by 2050 across Scopes 1-3 and have completed a minimum baseline third-party-verified greenhouse gas emissions inventory.

For more information, visit the IWCA website.

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Time Posted: 08/03/2023 at 5:47 PM Permalink to SILVER STATUS Permalink
Voyager Estate
8 March 2023 | Voyager Estate


On International Women’s Day, we are celebrating all the women we’re fortunate enough to call colleagues, customers, and friends.

A special salute to the exceptional women at Voyager Estate, who are dedicated to creating one-of-a-kind wine experiences for our guests each and every day – including our passionate Restaurant Manager Angie Evans.

What does International Women's Day mean to you?

Although I hope that some day in the not too distant future we will collectively reach a point where we no longer need an International Women’s Day, I think that right now, it's a great way to celebrate the huge progress we have made towards equality for the genders. It’s also an opportunity to think about and plan further movement in this direction.

Tell us about your journey in hospitality – how did your career unfold and what do you love most about it?

After my secondary education, as a green 19-year old, I got a job at a grand café in the centre of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. It was here my passion for hospitality ignited. It was also my first introduction to wine! The first wine I got really excited about was the Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough. My career at Voyager started quite suddenly after a lunch experience I had here with my husband. Everyone was so passionate in their service delivery, the food and wine were so excellent and the level of care was so high that I wanted to be a part of that!

What I love about hospitality is that I get to facilitate the making of memories. I LOVE going out for a great meal! Not just because of the wine and food, but the whole experience. I want our guests to feel special because of all the things we do that aren’t expected. That’s what an excellent hospitality experience is for me.

What fascinates you most about the world of food and wine?

The endless possibilities! I love food with lots of flavour and different textures. I sometimes wake up with the idea of a drink or dish in my head. Could be something I’ve had before or something I would like to try. Yesterday I woke up thinking about the sigara böregi that I used to get from the Turkish restaurant around the corner from my house in The Hague. I find wine fascinating because it can convey information about a place and time. It never tastes the same! It ages and changes and the way it tastes also depends on how you feel, where you are, what you've eaten...

What contribution during your time at Voyager are you most proud of?

This must be building our passionate front of house team. Each of them contributes something really important. There is open communication between us and we all strive to do things better. We help one another to learn and grow and we always celebrate our wins together. I am also quite proud of the non-alcoholic beverage offering I have developed for our menu. This offers an important alternative to those guests that don’t drink or can’t drink right now.

What challenges, if any, do you see for women in the hospitality business?

Drawing from personal experience, I think the single biggest challenge women face is a lack of confidence. Even when we are hugely capable, conscientious and visionary, we seem to doubt ourselves! Taking the lead can sometimes seem challenging and less inherent. The key to overcome this? Stop comparing and start celebrating your wins and those of others. Elevate the people around you and you elevate yourself.

Which women inspire you most?

All the women in my life inspire me! I realised about ten years ago that surrounding myself with inspiring people is so enriching. No one person offers the same thing, but that’s the beauty of it! My friends and colleagues inspire me to be confident, to love unconditionally, to achieve, to investigate, to have fun, to grow spiritually and to look after ourselves and one another.

What would you say is the most important attribute for a successful career in hospitality?

Passion. I think you have to really love this industry and be energised by it. When you strive toward delivering something excellent, whether an experience, a dish or a wine list, you keep learning, developing and moving things forward.

What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?

"If you don’t like it, you can just go home.” This applied to travelling, but the gist can be applied to everything in life. If you want to do something, just start. You don’t always have to know exactly where you are going all the time. If you stay stationary and try to work out your entire plan, you might never actually go anywhere. Plus, I’m in no way a chess player, so I cannot calculate all possible outcomes! Also, most of the time, where we end up is a completely different place to where we planned to go. And that’s the beauty of it. If I hadn’t gone with the flow a decade ago, I would never have made it to Australia!

What advice would you offer to women who want to pursue a career in hospitality?

Be confident. If the passion is there, go after what you want. Create what you feel is missing or would like to see more of. Surround yourself with people that encourage you and help you on your journey. Be curious as well. Speak to people that are passionate about the same things and find out how they got to where they are. And don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it right the first time. Learn from it and move on.

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Time Posted: 08/03/2023 at 8:00 AM Permalink to CELEBRATING WOMEN IN WINE Permalink
Voyager Estate
7 March 2023 | Voyager Estate


Welcome to the second in our series of snippets straight from Chief Winemaker Tim Shand, revealing all the magic and momentum of our first certified organic vintage...

"I'm pleased to report that all the Chardonnay is now in the house, and we can safely call this an excellent year for that variety!

In week two hand-picking continued, completing Blocks 5 and 6 and moving into Block 10 (all Gingin clone). We took a different approach this year, taking the luxury of two separate passes through the vineyard to pick the last of the Chardonnay. In the first pass, the pickers were instructed to pick only the bunches that were clearly visible (located on the outside of the canopy). The hypothesis being that with more sun on them, these bunches would be advanced in both sugar and flavour.

Three days later the pickers returned for the balance with the hope that a bit more time would see those bunches located within the canopy suitably advanced in ripening. Needless to say, it was a long three days of chasing birds around the (netless) block for Glen!

The two batches will always be distinctly different, but the hope is that both will be of better quality than the blended fruit would have been if all picked together.

We finished the week in Block 12 (all 76 clone), a low yielding block near the Cellar Door, which has found itself a small component of MJW in good years. With about an hour left in picking the heavens opened and gave us our first decent rain in four months. The rain hung around for the rest of the day and delivered 10mm in total. Nothing serious but it was a good feeling to have the Chardonnay all picked when it came down!

Whilst giving the whole vineyard a welcome freshen up, the rain does give us some anxiety around our Sauvignon Blanc, which will be next off the vine. We took a pause over the Labour Day long weekend (unheard of in the wine world!) and will hopefully get stuck into it again on Wednesday morning.

Chardonnay ferments have kicked off spontaneously in barrel and the winery is filled with estery stone fruit aromas - a great time to visit the winery on a tour as a few lucky guests discovered today!"

Time Posted: 07/03/2023 at 5:19 PM Permalink to VINTAGE VIGNETTES: WEEK TWO Permalink
Voyager Estate
28 February 2023 | Voyager Estate


Welcome to the first in our series of snippets straight from Chief Winemaker Tim Shand, revealing all the magic and momentum of our first certified organic vintage...

"It was all smiles in the winery and vineyard as we finished up week one of Vintage 2023! The sunny, dry spell that commenced in November shows no sign of abating, and we’ll harvest all our Chardonnay fruit in perfect conditions.

Picking commenced on Wednesday in Broadvale Block 6 with our Clone 95 Chardonnay. A universal truth of white grapes is that your best vineyards ripen first and that was the case again this year. Flavour (lime, pear drop...) came at low baumés as well as a lovely acidity – a sure sign of a standout vintage.

On Thursday, we moved over to Broadvale Block 5 – the Gingin Clone. The first pick in this larger block is in the western end, which sees the most sun in the afternoon. The block copped an early weevil attack in spring, but quick work from Glen and the team saw a Lazarus-like recovery! Flavours here are more toward the lemon spectrum, with some fig notes in the more exposed bunches. Again, we couldn’t have dialled up the press analysis any better with tight but refreshing acidity in the juice, and a lovely green hue.

Warm days and cold nights continued into day three and four of harvest, appreciated by the Chardonnay vines and harvesting humans alike! Broadvale Block 12 Clone P58 (planted in 2016), which has traditionally gone into Coastal Chardonnay, showed glimpses throughout the growing season that it has come of age. The fruit is going into the press as we speak, and has a nice mix of barrels laid out for filling later in the day. Fingers-crossed it will make its debut in the Voyager Estate blend this year.

Looking forward, by mid-next week, we’ll have broken the back of the Chardonnay pick and will be tentatively looking at Sauvignon Blanc for a start date. With the ideal conditions we’ve had, reds will be knocking on the door as well. Birds remain a constant threat as the Marris have failed to blossom thus far, but with nets going out fast there’s no complaints and plenty of optimism here."

Time Posted: 28/02/2023 at 3:22 PM Permalink to VINTAGE VIGNETTES: WEEK ONE Permalink
Voyager Estate
6 February 2023 | Voyager Estate


Get to know our new Chief Winemaker in a two-part series of rapid fire questions, designed to delve a little deeper into Tim's background, passion and vision for Voyager Estate.

How does Cabernet from the Yarra Valley differ from Margaret River?

Cabernet from the Yarra Valley has fine and approachable tannins, even when young. The flavour profile is red fruits in cooler years, leaning toward blackcurrant and black olive in warmer years, and always with a light frame. By comparison, Margaret River Cabernet is intense and concentrated, with tannins to match. Finding the gentleness and harmony in all that strength will be a worthy task.

How does Chardonnay from the Yarra Valley differ from Margaret River?

Chardonnay from the Yarra Valley has a fine-boned structure and is reliant on the linearity of acid from the cooler climate. The flavours of Margaret River Chardonnay are more abundant, with the potential for great stature and longevity. Vive la difference, as they say!

Will your experience in the Yarra Valley inform your winemaking in Margaret River?

I am pondering that with the cooler sub-climate of Stevens Valley, there may be a little to be taken from both worlds to harness fruit power with a gentle line of savouriness.

The most incredible wine you've ever tasted?

The 1978 Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche from Burgundy on my thirtieth birthday. The bottle was drawn from the iconic Dujac cellar – a typically generous act of the Seysses family. It completed the greatest day of my life. If my wife and kids are reading this…I’m sorry! I’ve had three children, but only one 1978 Grand Cru Burgundy!

Looking ahead, what are you most curious about?

The potential to push the envelope with avant-garde winemaking techniques applied to Voyager Estate’s high-calibre fruit.

How would you describe your winemaking philosophy?

I believe winemaking is more of a craft than an art, like jewellery or carpentry, because the beauty of the final product is limited to the quality of the raw materials. If there are artists at all in the wine, then the credit should go to the vines and the yeasts. The craft lies in respecting these core materials and understanding how to guide them on their way to bottle. If a winemaker ever tells you they’re an artist, then they’re a b******t artist!

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Time Posted: 06/02/2023 at 2:31 PM Permalink to Q&A WITH TIM: PART TWO Permalink
Voyager Estate
31 January 2023 | Voyager Estate


We are thrilled to welcome Travis Crane, who has taken the helm as Head Chef at our celebrated signature restaurant.

With a career spanning kitchens across Australia and the world, Travis joins the Voyager team from his role as Executive Chef at remote luxury accommodation Finniss River Lodge in the Northern Territory and, before that, as Executive Chef of Brisbane's City Winery restaurants.

Travis will continue the established wine-led vision of the award-winning restaurant, with menus that capture an honest and memorable snapshot of the unique land and region, as well as highlighting Margaret River’s small-scale, ethical and sustainable producers. This approach aligns wholly with Travis's deep passion for provenance-focused cooking, ignited by his time at Belgium’s Michelin-starred restaurant In De Wulf and continued through his work at The Barrelroom and Larder at Ballandean Estate in Queensland.

“My philosophy is to source thoughtfully, cook respectfully, and present beautifully,” says Crane. “Joining Voyager Estate as Head Chef gives me the opportunity to create food that tells the story of our region and what we believe in, and present guests with a more sustainable way to eat. I am also excited to work with Sommelier Claire Tonon and the Voyager winemaking team to create dishes that showcase their stunning wines.”

Voyager Estate Proprietor Alexandra Burt is thrilled to welcome Travis to the team saying, “A compulsive forager, even on his days off, Travis’s considered and deeply creative style fits hand-in-glove with our wine-first approach to menu design, as well as being a great fit for our team. Travis picks up the baton to take the Voyager Estate restaurant to the next level, which is exciting for us and our guests alike.”

The Voyager Estate restaurant offers immersive, wine-led tasting menus. Changing with key seasonal milestones in the vineyard, our dishes showcase the freshest ingredients from favoured local farmers and producers, with chef and sommelier working closely together to create flavour pairings that provide a sense of place in Margaret River.

Our latest menu, BACCA [Latin: Berry], has been created by Travis in collaboration with Sommelier Claire Tonon and brings together the region’s finest sustainable produce for a colourful culinary evolution inspired by the grapes as they ripen through late summer. Highlights include Octopus, Rhubarb, Rose; Zucchini, Mussels, Citrus; Kangaroo, Mulberry, Macadamia, Saltbush; Pork, Beetroot, Black Garlic.

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Time Posted: 31/01/2023 at 1:42 PM Permalink to INTRODUCING TRAVIS CRANE Permalink