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Margaret River's Founding Wine Estate

Vasse Felix is Margaret River’s founding wine Estate and was established in 1967 by regional pioneer Dr Tom Cullity.

Pristine isolation, ancient lands and twin oceans make Margaret River a wine paradise and one of the world’s greatest environments to grow ultra-premium Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. These varieties, alongside Shiraz and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends are the primary focus at Vasse Felix.

All wines are estate-grown in Vasse Felix’s four Margaret River vineyards then estate-made and bottled within its state-of-the-art winemaking facility.

Vasse Felix is regarded as one of Australia's draw-card winery destinations and welcomes all visitors, daily for a host of wine and culinary experiences.

Margaret River, Wine Paradise

Margaret River's pristine isolation, ancient lands and maritime influence create the ideal environment to grow Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and Shiraz and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blend wines.

The region contributes just 3% to Australia's total wine production, however commands over 20% of the premium market with wines that arguably lead the way as international benchmarks.

 

More About Wine Paradise

Our History

Founder Dr Tom Cullity searched the South-West cape of Western Australia relentlessly for his first vineyard site, before selecting 8 acres of land in Cowaramup.

Today this special block, Margaret River's original vines, remains at the heart of the Vasse Felix Estate.

Vasse Felix has progressed considerably since 1967, while always remaining true to Dr Cullity's simple founding aim, 'to make the best possible wine.'

 

View Historical Timeline

 

Four Specialty Vineyards

The Vasse Felix Estate includes four vineyards throughout the Margaret River wine region. The sites have been selected for their unique topography, micro-climates and natural drainage.

The best suited grape varieties have been matched to each vineyard, and specific rows and blocks have been planted to correspond with topography and soil type.

A 'hands off' philosophy is undertaken, working to the philosophy of achieving ‘fruit quality through plant health, and plant health through soil health’.

 

Explore the Vineyards

The Story of the Name

[pronounced vass fee-liks]

Vasse

‘Naturaliste’ and ‘Geographe’ were the maiden ships in the Baudin Expedition which was undertaken by the French to map the coast of Australia (New Holland) from 1800-1803.The expedition was the first to discover the south-west coast of Australia, arriving from Mauritius in the peak of winter to storms and monstrous 8 foot swells.

Disaster struck on 8 June 1801 when the Naturaliste’s Assistant Helmsman was swept up by the waves and thrown into the vast and treacherous ocean. This was the disappearance of Thomas Timothèe Vasse. While originally thought to have drowned, rumours of Vasse’s circumstances emerged in the following years. His became one of the most curious nautical stories in French and Australian history.

Was he lost to the wild ocean, or did he wash ashore and live with the local indigenouse community? Did he grow old in Australia or was he picked up by an American crew, taken to England and subsequently imprisoned? It became a much-publicised story in the French Journals. The public was divided. What happened to the unlucky and unfortunate Vasse?

Felix

An avid historian, and hopeful that his vineyard would enjoy a happier fate, Dr Tom Cullity named it Vasse Felix, meaning ‘lucky/happy’ Vasse.

The Peregrine Falcon Story

The bird on the Vasse Felix label is a Peregrine Falcon. It has been on the Vasse Felix label since the first vintage and draws from an early story in the vineyards.

The first Vasse Felix vintage in 1971 from four year old vines was disheartening, with most of the fruit either destroyed by rot or eaten by native birds. To protect the grapes from bird damage during harvest, falconry was attempted.

The exercise, however, proved unsuccessful, as the first time the falcon was released to circle the vineyard it flew straight into the surrounding forest, never to return.

Owner Paul Holmes À Court

Paul Holmes à Court represents the second generation of the Family who have owned and operated Vasse Felix since 1987.

Paul took over General Management of the Estate in 2005 and became the sole owner of Vasse Felix and its parent company, The Heytesbury Group in 2008.

The long-term vision for Vasse Felix is to build a great wine Estate in the world in Margaret River, and under Paul’s management, every major operation from vine to bottle and beyond continues to be carefully reviewed, upgraded and evolved. Significant Estate projects during Paul’s tenure to date have included:

  • The expansion of the Home Vineyard
  • The selection and addition of specialty vineyard sites; Gnarawary and Karridale
  • Revolutionary upgrades to the in-house winemaking and bottling facilities
  • Architectural and interior redevelopment of the Cellar Door and Restaurant

Paul will continue leading all management of Vasse Felix and The Heytesbury Group’s other business entities until they are one day taken forward by the next Holmes à Court generation - his young children.

Our People

Paul Holmes à Court

Paul Holmes à Court

Chief Executive Officer & Owner
Bart Molony

Bart Molony

Chief Viticulturist
Virginia Willcock

Virginia Willcock

Chief Winemaker
Lloyd Constantine

Lloyd Constantine

Brand & Market Development Manager
Brendan Pratt

Brendan Pratt

Head Chef

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