The red harvest has officially kicked off, with some of our best Shiraz filling up the buckets under sunny skies.
Planted in 2008, the W4 vineyard is graced with low, well-balanced canopies producing consistent and pristine bunches. The 1995 plantings in U11 are lower yielding, but produce fruit with greater density, finer tannins and complex, ripe flavours.
With eagle eyes, nimble fingers and some motivational tunes to boot, the crew moved through the vines, carefully hand-picking and sorting each parcel of fruit, before sending it off to the press.
It's been a hive of activity in the vineyard and winery as our white harvest continued apace during week two of harvest.
There were plenty of early-morning starts as the first Chenin Blanc grapes came off the vines and into the winery, destined for our Sparkling Chenin Blanc, swiftly followed by our zesty Sauvignon Blanc and some golden Semillon (Chief Winemaker, Tim Shand's favourite juice to drink fresh off the press!).
Vineyard Manager, Glen Ryan, was also keeping a close eye on our legacy block V9, to ensure the fruit bound for our MJW Cabernet Sauvignon is of exceptional quality again this year. A quick bit of leaf thinning and selective bunch trimming had the vines humming along nicely, in preparation for picking in a few weeks.
We have officially welcomed a new season in our organic Kitchen Garden and with it, brand-new produce to feature on our BACCA menu.
The team have been on a mission to get their ducks in a row, focusing on low-maintenance produce that is slightly easier to grow, supported by a bit of rejuvenation and a goal to keep most of the bugs at bay. There was a moment where things were ticking along nicely, until they were greeted with heat waves and water woes, which have kept them very busy!
Snakes have come to visit, which is a little terrifying, though it's nice to know that they’re keeping guard, helping to scare away our small furry friends that like to eat the crops. Wasps have also been spotted flying about looking for a caterpillar snack. It has been incredible to witness organics in action, as they hide among the cabbages and carry off those pesky green bugs.
Planting started in December last year, a little later than usual, while the winter crops were drawing to a late close. Whilst the Belted Galloway cows (or 'belties' as they are affectionately known) enjoyed the remains of the brassicas, the team pondered what they would grow next.
An early heat wave delayed the decision-making and caused a reduction in soil moisture, however, this also meant that the purslane had a minute to grow! Purslane is a common 'weed' that produces an edible leafy, green vegetable. The team had differing opinions on what to do with it. It makes a great cover crop if you leave it in the ground, but it is also nutrient-dense, high in omega-3 and a great garnish, so definitely worth harvesting for dishes. Ultimately they opted to do both, and lucky too, as the purslane left in the ground proved helpful in the heatwaves, holding moisture in the soil. Not to mention, the belties like to have a little snack on it.
Along with the purslane, the team have planted all the usual summer suspects; cucumbers, pumpkins, rockmelons, zucchinis, corn and eggplants. A few different cucumber varieties have brought some different menu creations in the form of pickles and juices. A new dish of sardine, ajoblanco and cucumber has just landed on the menu paired with the 2023 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon. What a match!
The zucchinis come in different sizes, making them especially good at hiding from the team on harvest days. Head Chef, Travis Crane, thinly slices them, rolls them with goat’s curd and serves them next to Arkady Lamb. Red cabbages are also going strong and are currently featured as the vegetarian version of our chicken course...you may see them on something new soon. Ivory eggplants are also cropping well and featured heavily on our vegetarian menu.
The Slim Jim eggplants are just starting to fruit and will go on the menu later this year alongside succulent local duck. Pumpkins and rockmelons are coming in thick and strong. It's looking like a potential 30 kg haul per week for the next little while but we're not counting our chickens (or our ducks!).
It was all smiles this week as the team wrapped up another successful Chardonnay harvest under moody Margaret River skies.
Vintage ‘24 kicked off early and dry, with each day becoming a race to get the fruit in the bag before the summer heat set in. Fortunately, the team enjoyed some cooler mornings and nights towards the end of the pick, providing a welcome reprieve amidst the busyness of an action-packed week.
Judicious hand-picking and sorting in the winery have resulted in a slightly lower yield of Chardonnay fruit compared to last year, but the quality is looking exceptional. Stay tuned as Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc start to come off the vine very soon.
A few highlights from our first hand-pick of Vintage '24, as our Crew got down to business in our certified organic Broadvale Block 11 Chardonnay vineyard late last week.
The slightly overcast skies couldn't dull the excitement in the air as the first ripe bunches hit the buckets and the team settled into the rhythm of a fresh harvest season.
We're thrilled to share that our 2021 MJW Chardonnay has been named in the Top 100 Wines of Australia for 2023 by JamesSuckling.com.
Senior Editor, Ned Goodwin MW, says this year's shortlist is "A reflection of the Aussie zeitgeist...drinkers and winemakers alike seek a coda of freshness, drinkability, and a sense of place. However, they also appreciate wines grown with respect: wines that incorporate an ethical approach to the land, the water that sustains it and a long gaze into a brighter future, as much as wines that make us want to reach for a third glass before the bottle is empty."
For the 2021 MJW Chardonnay specifically, he awarded an impressive 95 points, commenting "This is a classy Margaret River Chardonnay – mid-weighted, taut, and immaculately detailed, with density, intensity, and subtle power parrying impressive length."
Explore the full Top 100 here.
This year marks our first foray into growing our own organic produce for the Voyager Estate Restaurant, and we’re pleased to report that the new Kitchen Garden is thriving under the watchful eye of Head Chef Travis Crane.
A lot of hard work and dedication has gone into cultivating our patch, located on an adjacent property to the Estate, alongside the Landsmith Home Farm. Preparation involved clearing rows, lots of whipper snipping, and a fair few waves to the resident cows in the process.
It's a labour of love, but an essential step on our pathway to becoming a carbon neutral business. There are many benefits to becoming more self-sufficient, chief among them the reduction of food waste and the lowering of food miles. Our produce is managed organically, meaning no nasties used in our farming practices – just beautiful, fresh vegetables to inspire our seasonal menus.
The team were fortunate to find potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes already growing in the space – a very satisfying first harvest that included a lot of dirt under fingernails! These ingredients inspired Chef Travis’s now infamous potato dish, as well as a unique, and utterly delicious, Jerusalem artichoke pudding.
Some of the first produce to go into the ground were the brassicas. Unfortunately, the team didn’t realise that the rabbits were looking on with hungry eyes and greedy tummies; they made short work of that first planting. There were a few ‘Farmer McGregor’ moments as they recalibrated and put some protections in place to keep out our furry friends.
Our kailaan has taken to the patch beautifully. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, recently astounding the team with a 7kg harvest! Purple broccoli, purple cauliflower and romanesco have also gone in and are thriving. Earlier this month, the fennel started coming off, and our garlic is producing beautiful scapes (thin green stalks that grow from the garlic bulb).
The real star of the show, however, has been the cabbages. We’ve had a range of shapes and sizes, with mini-sized ones cooked over fire, and beautiful baby cabbage-ettes served alongside our venison. The sugarloaf variety has exploded, with 50kg of cabbages coming off the patch and counting!
Next season the team are hoping for a bountiful harvest of eggplant, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, corn, onions, beets and carrots. Stay tuned for how these ingredients will feature on our menu throughout the year.
Recently we welcomed an intimate group of Fold Wine Club members to our Cottesloe haven for VĪVIDŌ, our final Rooftop Soirée of the year celebrating all things fresh and new at Voyager Estate.
Hosted by Chief Winemaker Tim Shand and Wine Club Coordinator Stephen Wallace, guests were greeted with a glass of Sparkling Rosé as the sun set over the Cottesloe skyline – the perfect fizz to accent a beautifully balmy Friday evening.
The night officially began with a bracket of rosé and whites, including our brand-new Tempranillo Rosé. Guests were then treated to a second bracket of red wines, featuring a sneak peek of some exciting projects yet be released, alongside our new spring drop, Vivid Red – a clear crowd favourite for the evening!
Tastings were accompanied by thoughtful insights from Tim and Stephen delving into the conscious craftsmanship behind these wines, as well as a delectable selection of cheese, charcuterie and canapés.
It was a wonderful evening sharing the state of play – the innovation, the evolution and what’s to come at Voyager Estate – with our incredible Fold Wine Club members. Stephen is already planning a new series of exclusive events for 2024, so watch this space.
To receive invitations to our exclusive member events, join the Fold Wine Club.
Images by Shot By Thom.
We’re delighted to share Voyager Estate’s 2023 Inaugural Sustainability Report – the culmination of many years of learning, practising and applying sustainability principles to our land and operations.
Beginning over 20 years ago, our work has been championed by long-standing team members and many who have left their mark long after their time with Voyager Estate. We’ve drawn on wisdom and inspiration from our colleagues in both the wine industry and further afield.
This report provides a snapshot in time, of both our current environmental and community impact, and our progress in areas where we are still working towards tangible results on the ground.
We hope you enjoy delving into some of our early initiatives, our pathway to becoming fully-certified organic, and our emerging efforts in understanding our greenhouse emissions, as well as tackling the major collective challenge for all of us – climate change.
“Much like the old saying ‘the map is not the territory’, the report is not the work! However, it’s critical to document the progress in our wayfinding. We’re very proud to stand alongside many other businesses in the Margaret River region and beyond, working to make our land, operations, and communities more resilient, and to play our part in creating a positive future” – Michelle McManus, Head of Sustainability at Voyager Estate.
Explore the report here.
We're thrilled to share that Voyager Estate has been shortlisted for the prestigious IWSC Red Wine Producer of the Year.
The International Wine and Spirits Competition is renowned for its rigorous judging process and plays an essential role in maintaining and elevating industry standards in the world of wine and spirits. They tasted over 7,500 wines from over 40 countries to shortlist only 7 wineries for Red Wine Producer of the Year and only 6 wineries for White Wine Producer of the Year in 2023.
This announcement comes off the back of the IWSC's inaugural 'in situ' tasting in Margaret River, which saw Voyager Estate awarded three gold medals for the 2020 MJW Cabernet Sauvignon, 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2023 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, as well as two silver medals for our Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 and The Modern Cabernet Sauvignon 2021.
Voyager Winemaker Tim Shand said, “Margaret River is increasingly recognised for making some of the world’s great Cabernet wines. To represent our region on this shortlist, awarded by the formidable judging line up of the IWSC, is a great privilege.
We would like to extend a big congratulations to Cherubino Wines, who were shortlisted for White Wine Producer of the Year, as well as the other finalists from around the globe – we are in very fine company.
The winners will be announced at an awards celebration in London on 19 October.