Stay in touch with the latest news and happenings at Vasse Felix, in Margaret River and on tour around the world.
Margaret River hosted it's sixth annual Gourmet Escape food and wine festival from 16 - 19 November 2017. A highlight was Thursday's Fifty Years in the Making Tasting held at Vasse Felix in partnership with the Margaret River Wine Association.
The tasting was a once in a lifetime full day event featuring a comprehensive Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon tasting in the morning and a Margaret River Chardonnay tasting in the afternoon. The tasting featured wines from 24 wineries in The Margaret River Region, plus a panel of highly esteemed wine industry leaders including; Jancis Robinson MW, James Halliday, Andrew Caillard MW and Virginia Willcock. The tasting was an incredible experience for all who participated, reaffirming our belief that Margaret River truly is one of the great wine regions of the world.
The Saturday evening saw Head Chef Brendan Pratt collaborate with Barbados-born chef Paul Carmichael, executive chef at Sydney’s Momofuku Seiõbo for the Invention and Heritage Degustation Dinner in the Vasse Felix Restaurant. The five course menu was a true celebration of our resourceful and inventive founder - Dr Tom Cullity. The cutting edge courses were accompanied by some of Margaret River's finest wines.
The weekend also saw the return of Bar Felix to Gourmet Village. The travelling incarnation of Vasse Felix focused primarily on the theme of innovation this year, with two new Black Market Wine Schools - Creative Cabernet and Deconstructed Chardonnay.
Once again our Black Label sparkling the Blanc de Blancs was available (much to the delight of festival-goers), as well as our Classic Dry White on tap, and Filius Chardonnay and Filius Cabernet Sauvignon.
This years food offerings were hugely popular, with the Chefs barely keeping up with the demand for our Japanese Prawn Brioche Slider and Grilled Chicken + Papaya Salad.
Hugo Gruzman (Flight Facilities) took over the main stage on Sunday afternoon, sending out the 2017 Gourmet Village with some great tunes. A perfect end to a fantastic weekend!
To view the Margaret River Gourmet Escape Video presented by Audi, click here.
Vasse Felix has been named ‘New World Winery of the Year’ by leading USA publication Wine Enthusiast in its 18th annual Wine Star Awards.
The Margaret River wine estate was one of five nominees from major international regions, surpassing estates from Stellenbosch (De Toren), Auckland (Kumeu River), Argentina (Trapiche) and Chile (Vina Ventisquero), to receive the coveted award.
Wine Enthusiast Editor and Publisher, Adam Strum said the awards recognise leaders within the beverage industry.
“Vasse Felix has lead Margaret River in quality since the beginning. They have consistently raised the bar for their region with outstanding, long-lived Cabernet Sauvignon and complex, multifaceted Chardonnay. Additionally, the current team with Virginia Willcock at the winemaking helm, continues to take the winery to new heights,” Adam Strum said.
The award coincides with Vasse Felix’s 50th anniversary, along with that of the Margaret River Wine Region. Vasse Felix is the first Margaret River and West Australian winery to receive the US publication’s award, joining only three previous Australian winners; Penfolds (2013), Yalumba (2009) and Clarendon Hills (2006).
Vasse Felix owner, Paul Holmes à Court, said the award was a tremendous honour and an acknowledgement of every individual who has contributed to the estate’s achievements in its first fifty years.
“We are thrilled to have Wine Enthusiast recognise Vasse Felix and Margaret River in our 50th year. We’ve grown together from a doubtful 8-acre vineyard planted by Tom Cullity in what was then a remote dairy-farming town, to an internationally renowned wine estate in fifty short years. This award belongs to everyone who has worked to make Vasse Felix what it is today.”
Paul Holmes à Court said the Wine Enthusiast ‘New World Winery of the Year’ Wine Star Award was also a timely reminder of how the Margaret River wine region has cemented its reputation for world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
“Margaret River’s youth and isolation were once our challenges, but have become our greatest assets. The pristine coastal location, ancient lands and biodiversity of flora and fauna make Margaret River a wine paradise unlike any other place on earth. A run of exceptional vintages since 2007 has seen our region’s wine quality go from strength to strength.”
“The next fifty years at Vasse Felix will be defined by continued investment in wine quality and sustainability, and a serious focus on brand building in major export markets such as North America, UK and Asia,” Paul said.
Director of the Margaret River Wine Association, Amanda Whiteland said the Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Award was a fitting recognition of Vasse Felix’s long-term reputation for quality and its leadership within the local, and Australian wine community.
“From hosting the Regional Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon tastings for local producers, to volunteering on Boards and committees, the Vasse Felix team are fantastic supporters and ambassadors for Margaret River.”
“The USA is a top three market for Margaret River exports and the Wine Enthusiast Award will be a great spotlight for our beautiful Margaret River wine region, and therefore something all producers can benefit from,” Amanda said.
Margaret River contributes just 3% of Australia’s overall wine production, but commands 20% of its premium market. The region’s Cabernets accounted for 41% of James Halliday’s Best of Best by Variety in his 2018 Wine Companion and 25% of its Chardonnays. Vasse Felix’s icon wines the TOM CULLITY Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec and HEYTESBURY Chardonnay were represented in each of these categories.
More information on the awards can be found here.
The Vasse Felix Restaurant received Two Chef Hats in the 2018 National Good Food Guide Awards this month. Head Chef Brendan Pratt, who has been with us since July, is already proving his mettle, with Vasse Felix being one of only two Western Australian restaurants to be awarded two prestigious 'chef hats' in the annual awards.
"Earning two chef hats caps a stellar start for new head chef Brendan Pratt, who took the reins in the kitchen from Vasse stalwart Aaron Carr in July." David Prestipino said in his review of the Restaurant following the awards announcement.
This is one of a few glowing reviews the Retsaurant has received recently, the latest of which was from Max Brearley in Delicious. "The service is still the best in the region ... Pratt's cooking is technical but robust, with bursts of colour from the vivid yellow of corn and yolk, to lamb that's topped with a squid ink rice crackers and ash, playing the eyes as ell as the palate. His approach to taste: linear, clean and true to the ingredients." Read more of the review here.
More information on the Good Food Guide Awards here.
One of the USA’s most influential wine publications has nominated the Margaret River Wine Region and its founding wine estate for two major international awards.
Vasse Felix and Margaret River are nominees in Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Star Awards in the categories of ‘New World Winery of the Year’ and ‘Wine Region of the Year’. Both sit in a shortlist of five, with winners to be announced in November.
Editor and Publisher of Wine Enthusiast, Adam Strum said the awards recognise the most influential members of the alcohol beverage industry.
"Each year, I work with our global editorial team to tap top individuals and companies notably driving trends and creating impact in the consumer and trade wine, spirits and beer spaces,” Adam Strum said of selecting the nominees for the 18th Annual Wine Star Awards.
The nomination comes at a significant historical moment for Vasse Felix and the Margaret River Wine Region who share their 50th anniversary this year.
Vasse Felix Owner and CEO Paul Holmes à Court said the nominations were an excellent acknowledgment of the wine quality and innovation in Margaret River, a region which contributes just 3% of Australia’s overall wine production, but commands 20% of its premium market.
“Margaret River is a wine paradise for growing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Our region is youthful, pristine and isolated and our well-travelled community encourages boundless thinking and collaboration. Local producers have made the most of Margaret River’s run of superb vintages since 2007 in a real and meaningful way. The dynamic, consistent and globally-relevant wines reflect that,” Paul Holmes à Court said.
Throughout its history, Vasse Felix has maintained a reputation for the progressive winemaking of its wine collection which is estate grown, made and bottled.
“We’re thrilled to have Wine Enthusiast recognise the research and development undertaken daily in the Vasse Felix vineyards and winery. The increased consumer awareness that the Wine Star Awards will generate for Margaret River in one of the world’s most important wine markets is something all producers and stockists can benefit from,” Paul Holmes à Court continued.
Vasse Felix’s 50th anniversary celebrations commenced in May with the release of its highly-acclaimed 2013 TOM CULLITY. The Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec is a single-vineyard evolution of its icon Cabernet, the HEYTESBURY and was more than ten years in the making. It honours Vasse Felix founder and regional pioneer, Dr Tom Cullity.
Vasse Felix Chief Winemaker Virginia Willcock toured the USA in July and launched the 2013 TOM CULLITY, experiencing unprecedented trade interest in markets such as Miami and Chicago.
This is consistent with the sentiment of a Wine Australia Market Update released in July which suggested growth in Australian wine exports to the USA in the 12 months to June 2017 was at its highest level since 2012. Exports of wines A$10 or more per litre (approximately US$15 and above in retail) had increased 21%.
If successful, it would be the first time a non-South Australian Estate and Region has received the coveted Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Award. Penfolds (2013), Yalumba (2009) and Clarendon Hills (2006) have been the only successful Australian award-winning wineries, historically.
A three day festival of music, wine & culinary art in Margaret River.
Featuring ACO Collective
8 - 10 December 2017
Only Friday & Sunday Performance tickets left!
To book, please contact our team on Ph: 08 9756 5000 or email@example.com
THE CONTEMPORARY SESSION
Your evening at the Estate begins with cheese, charcuterie and a glass of Vasse Felix Blanc de Blancs sparkling on arrival, before moving through to the Vasse Felix Art Gallery for this opening performance by ACO Collective, led by Artistic Director Pekka Kuusisto.
Following the performance, join Janet Holmes à Court, and members of the ACO Collective for an intimate dining experience in the Restaurant, including a sumptuous five course degustation menu with matching wines by internationally-renowned Chief Winemaker Virginia Willcock.
You will also receive a copy of ACO40, a limited edition book celebrating the ACO’s 40th Anniversary year, along with a bottle of the 2014 Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon.
TICKETS - FRIDAY (5pm for 5.30pm Performance)
Performance + 5 course degustation dining with ACO musicians plus book and wine gift - $395 SOLD OUT
Performance Only - $95
Be inspired with this high-octane evening performance featuring Australia’s finest emerging string musicians.
Following the performance, step outside for a gentle sunset stroll through the Home Vineyard to the spectacular Vasse Felix Red Barrel Hall for dinner. Enjoy a long table shared-dining experience surrounded by the estate’s aging red wines. Includes three sumptuous courses accompanied by Vasse Felix wines.
TICKETS - SATURDAY (5pm for 5.30pm Performance)
Performance + Long Table Dinner - $245 SOLD OUT
Performance Only - $95 SOLD OUT
This just might be the perfect way to spend a Sunday with family and friends. Indulge in the enchanting sounds of ACO Collective with this special morning performance. An engaging and accessible program suitable for music lovers of any age.
Join the musicians on the Estate lawns following the performance for light refreshments or make a reservation to dine in the Vasse Felix Restaurant.
TICKETS - SUNDAY (10.45am for 11am Performance)
Performance + Light Refreshments
Family (2 adults / 2 children) - $130
Adult - $60
Child - $20
More information: https://www.aco.com.au/whats_on/event_detail/vassefelixfestival17
To book, please contact our team on Ph: 08 9756 5000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Celebrating its 10 year anniversary this year, ACO Collective is the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s critically acclaimed 17-piece string orchestra led by Artistic Director Pekka Kuusisto and combining musicians of the ACO with Australia’s most talented young professional musicians at the outset of their careers.
These young musicians have embarked on a year-long journey with the Orchestra as part of the ACO’s Emerging Artists’ Program which includes tours across Australia, mentoring from ACO players and delivering ACO’s many education initiatives.
With their signature energetic style and dynamic sound, the ACO Collective embodies the very spirit of the ACO.
“If you’re looking for the finest young string players in this country and, most probably, well beyond, this is where you’ll find them.” Australian Stage Online, on ACO Collective
Our viticulturists are breathing a sigh of relief, having completed 10 weeks of pruning – approximately 9,000 hours between all team members. The pruning season, which generally runs from July through to September, is a labour-intensive process where staff work with every single vine in each of our four vineyards.
For those interested in the finer details of viticulture management, our Chief Viticulturist Bart Molony has put together a summary of the two pruning methods utilised at Vasse Felix.
What is Pruning?
Pruning is the removal of shoots and wood from the vine and is carried out during winter when the vines are dormant. Pruning is the most labour intensive seasonal task and can make up 13% of a vineyard’s total cost of operations. It can take anywhere from 30-90 seconds to fully prune a vine depending on the pruning style, age of the vine and the variety.
We prune in order to regulate the number of shoots on a vine and strike a balance between vegetative growth and yield. Too much vegetative growth can make canopies more difficult to manage, increase disease pressure and reduce overall fruit quality. Pruning contributes to the overall sustainability of a vine, so it can achieve ideal quality and yields year in, year out.
Spur pruning is where a permanent cordon (horizontal branch) is set up and spurs of two or three nodes in length are evenly spaced along this cordon. The cordon typically ages and thickens with the trunk of the vine each year.
Spur pruned vines can be mechanically pre-pruned which greatly reduces the labour required to remove the prunings from the trellis. The positions of the spurs are usually pre-determined so it is a quicker process compared to cane pruning. However, as the cordons mature, they can be increasingly harder to manage, the spurs become larger and there is an increase in the number of water-shoots (non-fruitful shoots) produced each year.
Spur pruned vines typically produce smaller bunches and berries which are more intense in character. At Vasse Felix we have found that spur spacing of 10-15cm will result in ideal shoot and fruit densities.
We apply this method in our premium Chardonnay blocks as it tends to produce more reliable yields and more even shoot distribution. Spur pruning also improves the power and concentration of fruit flavours, particularly in the Gin Gin Chardonnay clone – a well-known Margaret River Chardonnay clone.
Cane pruning utilises the canes for fruit bearing wood, as opposed to using the spurs. Approximately two to four canes, originating from the crown of the trunk, are wrapped horizontally onto the cordon wires, while some 2-node spurs are left on the crown to guarantee fruitful canes for the following vintage.
Cane pruning is arguably more sustainable than spur pruning as there is no permanent cordon present, the yields and quality tend to be more consistent. However, it does requires a higher level of skill, experience and resources.
Cane pruned vines produce larger bunches and berries, resulting in softer and more elegant wines.
We use the cane pruning method to maintain our premium Cabernet Sauvignon sections, as these vines require light exposure and open canopies. Typically, Cabernet Sauvignon berries are very small; therefore a slight increase in size can provide better balance in the berry composition.
Factors to Consider
Target wine quality and style. This is determined by the potential of the site, which is heavily influenced by the soils and climate.
Target yield to achieve wine quality. We look at the history of fruitfulness and the quality to get a clear picture on the type and level of pruning we should be using.
Variety, age and fruitfulness of the block.
Size and location of the block.
Sunday 22 October 2017
10.30am - 12.30pm
$95.00 per person
Enjoy ten indulgent oriental inspired dishes by Vasse Felix Head Chef Brendan Pratt & team, accompanied by Vasse Felix wines.
Head Chef Brendan Pratt joined the Restaurant team in late July and has been busy developing his take on the signature Vasse Felix style. Perth-born and trained, Brendan’s international experience includes positions with Michelin Star Restaurants The Fat Duck and The Ledbury.
Guests will be seated in tables of ten. If you would like to request to sit with friends, please make note of this in your booking and we will do our best to accommodate.
For more information, please contact our contact our office, Ph: 08 9756 5000 or email@example.com
James Halliday's Australian Wine Companion 2018 has officially been released, with both Vasse Felix Icon wines receiving excellent reviews. The 2015 Heytesbury Chardonnay was awarded an impressive 97 points, while the inaugural 2013 TOM CULLITY was given 98 points, making it our highest scoring Cabernet ever.
“It would be hard to find a more elegant, yet razor-sharp expression of Margaret River cabernet.” (2014 Cabernet Sauvignon)
"Restrained like a lion on a leash." (2015 Chardonnay)
The Halliday Wine Companion, recognised as the industry benchmark for Australian wine is eagerly anticipated year after year for winemakers and wine lovers alike.
James Halliday's Reviews:
2013 TOM CULLITY - 98 Points
Don’t pay any attention to the slightly light colour, but certainly dwell on the gloriously fragrant bouquet and the intensity of the cassis-accented palate. This is a truly sophisticated blend of 76% cabernet sauvignon, 20% malbec, 4% petit verdot, with exceptional texture, length and aftertaste. Screwcap. 14.5% alc. Rating 98. Drink to 2033.
2015 Heytesbury Chardonnay - 97 Points
One of the icons of Margaret River, a chardonnay that has had spectacular success in shows over the past 5+ years, this vintage typical. The mouthfeel and balance are flawless, supple yet focused, all the ingredients - fruit, oak, acidity - in perfect harmony and balance. Screwcap. 13% alc. Rating 97. Drink to 2028.
2015 Chardonnay - 96 Points
The bouquet is still developing, but the palate guarantees the medium to long-term future of a chardonnay with exceptional length and intensity, pear, white peach and grapefruit combining to make light work of the oak. Restrained like a lion on a leash. Screwcap. 13% alc. Rating 96. Drink to 2034.
2014 Cabernet Sauvignon - 96 Points
It would be hard to find a more elegant, yet razor-sharp expression of Margaret River cabernet. It has cassis nailed to its mast, the sails of bay leaf, perfectly integrated oak and fine-grained but insistent tannins. Lovely wine. Screwcap. 14.5% alc. Rating 96. Drink to 2034
2015 Filius Cabernet Merlot - 94 Points
It has all the hallmarks of the warmer part of Margaret River, flavour building relatively early and sustained throughout the length of the palate. Juicy cassis is the cornerstone, but there are notes of dried herbs, black olive and oak adding complexity and length. Screwcap. 14% alc. Rating 94. Drink to 2029.
2014 Shiraz - 92 Points
There’s no doubt shiraz deserves its place in the warmer parts of Margaret River, even if it were to limit the opportunities for new cabernet plantings. This medium-bodied wine is supple, long and well balanced, with black cherry fruits to the fore, backed by spicy, savoury tannins and a waft of oak.
2015 Filius Cabernet Sauvignon - 91 Points
86% cabernet sauvignon, 14% malbec matured for 13 months in French oak (20% new). Brightly coloured; tips the scales of medium-bodied, deliberately light and fresh in the mouth, both bouquet and palate draped over a scaffold of superfine tannins providing a long finish and aftertaste.
2015 Filius Chardonnay - 90 Points
Filius (son of) is made using the same approach as its siblings, but with different estate-sourced grapes, and barrel-fermented and matured in 22% new French oak. It is well balanced, its early picking showing through in the zesty grapefruit-accented acidity which invests the wine with excellent freshness.
Wines from the Margaret River region recently featured as part of a Virtual Reality Wine Tasting – one of the first of its kind! Hosted at the Awethentic Gallery in Hong Kong, the tasting was attended by leading CEOs and MDs from the wine, luxury lifestyle and media world.
The Vasse Felix 2016 Filius Chardonnay was tasted by the VIP guests, along with wines from Cloudburst in Margaret River. Eddie McDougall of The Flying Wine opened the event and took the guests through the wine tasting.
The wines were accompanied by a Virtual Reality wine tour, filmed at Cloudburst, which allowed guests to experience a unique insight into winemaking in Margaret River. How exciting to think that our little pocket of wine paradise can now be shared with wine lovers from all over the world!
Take a look below at the photos from this special event.
On Tuesday 20 June, the top 12 finalists were joined at POW Kitchen & Bandroom by the best in the industry to celebrate the eleventh annual Young Gun of Wine Awards. The awards search for, showcase and celebrate new and emerging winemakers, and have become the place to spot the best new talent and trends in wine.
Trophies presented included Wine Australia Best New Act, People’s Choice, Ocean Eight Winemaker’s Choice and the Riedel Young Gun Of Wine.
The prestigious Young Gun of Wine Award was given to Michael Downer from Murdoch Hill in Adelaide. On receiving his award, Downer noted he was caught off guard and didn’t have a speech prepared. “The 2017 Top 50 is an awesome list of winemakers, and then I felt making the Final 12 was such an achievement. To now be titled Young Gun of Wine, and join a list of past winners that I consider to be some of the most admired winemakers in Australia, is an unbelievable honour.”
Vasse Felix was a proud supporter of this year’s awards and had a presence at the People’s Choice Event in Melbourne, pouring wines for guests and nominees alike.
Chief Winemaker Virginia Willcock also took time out of Winemaker Tour to attend the event and meet the highly esteemed nominees. “It is great to meet these fresh new faces of the Australian Wine Industry,” said Virginia.
The award winners were plucked from 200 winemaker candidates. A Top 50 was announced earlier this year, ahead of the Final 12, each in contention for the winemaker trophies. Of the final 12 producers, four included female winemakers, which is a wonderful result when a 2014 research report indicated women occupy only 8.8% of winemaker roles in Australia.
The 2017 judges included Nick Stock (Gourmet Traveller WINE, et al) Mike Bennie (Delicious, et al), Emma Farrelly (State Building), Philip Rich (The Lucas Group), Pip Anderson (MONA), Josh Elias (Alquimie), Rory Kent (Young Gun of Wine Founder and Executive Style) and Josephine Perry (Dormilona, 2016 Young Gun of Wine winner).
More details on the Awards here: http://younggunofwine.com/