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12th December 2023

Margaret River winemaking comes full circle 

Ian Wright has followed in his parents’ pioneering footsteps in establishing Wrights Vineyard – a new wine label steeped in Margaret River winemaking tradition and family heritage.


Nestled on 33 hectares of undulating land between Cowaramup and the coast, Ian is continuing his family’s 50-year legacy.


The Wrights wine heritage began in 1973 when Henry and Maureen Wright planted their first vines, back when there were only a handful of people experimenting in winemaking in Margaret River.


Producing Vintage Port, White Port, Hermitage, Cabernet Sauvignon and a Semillon Sauvignon Blanc Chardonnay blend, the family earnt a favourable reputation for their signature drops, particularly the White Port, with people travelling from far and wide to get their hands on the wine.


Maureen was the winemaker, and the original family vineyard is now Juniper Estate where the original vines still remain.


Ian recalls the hard work involved in establishing the vineyard in what was such a fledgeling industry and his father’s entrepreneurial spirit.


“I can now appreciate what hard work it was back then, given all the challenges that they had being pioneers of the wine industry. That’s what has made me more passionate about doing it. One of the things my father always said was, great wine is made in the vineyard. There’s no question that that’s absolutely correct,” he says.

The all-in family business saw Ian involved from a young age, and at the tender age of 15, his father Henry offered Ian a small pocket of vines to try his hand at making wine, which he named Lanzerac Burgundy in a tribute to a winery in South Africa, his mother’s birth country. About 300 bottles were made and sold for $5 a pop.


Ian’s passion for wine continued and he went on to study wine with some of Australia’s best at Roseworthy Agricultural College – the only winemaking course available in Australia at the time.


Ian managed a number of successful business ventures after graduating, but he was never able to shake his passion for wine. So, in 2020 he took the plunge and brought an established Margaret River winery to continue the Wright family tradition.


“I felt as though I’ve never really left. However, it’s been a few years now since my parents passed away and I really felt the urge and the need to continue their legacy in whatever way I could. So, this whole reincarnation of Wright’s Vineyard is to fulfill that dream,” Ian said.


Paying tribute to his family, Ian has created a special one-hectare Heritage Block of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. These vines were grown from cuttings taken from the original 1973 plantings at Wrights Wines in Wilyabrup, planted by Ian’s parents.


Ian has partnered with two champions of the industry, Viticulturalist Colin Bell and Deep Woods Winemaker Julian Langworthy to support the re-growth of Wrights Vineyard.


Wrights Vineyard will produce Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon Varieties, and in a nod to what was Wrights Wine’s signature drop, Ian plans to reinvent their sought-after White Port from original Chardonnay and Riesling vine cuttings.


The single vineyard, hand-picked Family Release Chardonnay will be available in 2024.


Viticulturalist Colin Bell believes the vineyard provides the perfect combination of conditions that makes Margaret River wines so distinctive.


“This is one of Margaret River’s little treasure vineyards. It has a wonderful balance of sun exposure, soil conditions, water sources, clear air, cooling summer breezes off the ocean, and undulation which allows for natural drainage. It also has a really cool natural yeast supply to allow for wild fermentation” he explains.


Read more about the reincarnation of Wrights in Margaret River here.