By Fergal Gleeson
Ferguson Falls Wines
La dolce vita also influenced Peter & Margaret Giumelli to open Ferguson Falls Wines. Peter tells me that his motivation to plant grapes occurred long before Geographe became an officially designated wine region.
“My introduction to grape growing, came from my grandfather” he says. “Consistent with the Italian culture, which existed in the local area, he had his own vineyard and produced his own wine. As a child, I absorbed some of this culture. I was able to pursue my love of wine by planting my own vineyard.”
“This happened in 1982, making it the earliest vineyard planted in the Ferguson Valley. This commenced in a very small way with Cabernet Sauvignon and later Shiraz, Merlot, Verdelho and Tempranillo. Some see the vineyard as my therapeutic hobby!” he jokes.
The cellar door is combined with an awarding winning café (2017 Gold Plate Award) which specialises in gourmet pizzas, crafted cheeses from their dairy herd and their award winning wines. Laura, their daughter in law, who manages the café comes from Minnesota. She has brought some American influence to the menu.
Peter’s favourite is the Reuben pizza, the main ingredients being pulled corned beef combined with sauerkraut with a Russian dressing. They also do a Reuben sandwich, New York style. However, the Artichoke Gourmet, Buffalo Garlic Prawn and Four Flavours of Pork pizzas are most popular with regulars.
The Giumelli’s are also dairy farmers and some of their milk is made into cheese by a local cheesemaker. Chilli and Chive fetta, Herb and Garlic fetta, along with Romano Pepper and a 4 year old Parmesan are some of their best.
For the warmer months Peter recommends Primavera Rosso, an effervescent red wine served chilled and Autunno Bianco, made from the Verdelho grape which is slightly sweet. Both are highly recommended with pizza!
More at http://www.fergusonfalls.com.au
Ferguson Hart Estate
Ferguson Hart Estate is another long established estate in the Ferguson Valley. Jan and Merv Hart were passionate about wine and wanted to escape the hustle of Perth and retire to the country. So they purchased a property in the valley and planted the vines nearly 25 years ago.
Jan and Merv boast that you’ll find fine wine, fine art and fine coffee at the cellar door. In the typical tradition of boutique family owned wineries in Geographe, visitors can expect a warm friendly greeting from the owners, not from paid staff.
Jan’s art work features prominently on the walls currently. The artworks on show vary from those painted by professionals to some by local artists.
“Our 6 wines all have something to offer for spring and summer” says Merv. “A lovely fresh, crisp SBS for a drink on the balcony, a very serious Gold medal Chardonnay for that special meal and a sensational cane cut Semillon to share with cheese, biscuits and fresh fruit.”
I asked him to talk me through the reds.
“There’s the double gold medal Grenache Shiraz Touriga to go with chilli and spice, a voluptuous mouth filling Reserve Shiraz for that special steak and finally a magnificent fortified Shiraz enhancing sweets and chocolate”
Gold medal wines, an excellent range of fine art, freshly baked homemade cakes and superb barista coffee. Plenty of good reasons to visit Ferguson Hart Estate.
Barton Jones Wines
Preeti and Brad Coughlin are the ‘new kids on the block’ of Geographe winemaking. They’d been living on in the area since 2012 and were on the lookout for a farm.
The Barton Jones property came up for sale which has allowed them to follow their passions and get involved in the community. Now they have some of the oldest vines (over 40 years old) in the Geographe region and a distinctive cellar door.
The building is made of straw bales, with integrated solar panels in the roof, all part of a solar passive design which is in keeping with their ecofriendly principles.
The space lends itself to live music, art and dining. There have been upgrades both inside and out since they’ve taken over and a lively events calendar is in place.
“We have had some great collaborations with Market Eating House, Jo’s Curry House, and also Maker and Co,” Preeti says “Who are all Bunbury based, as well as musicians for Sunday sessions and artists exhibiting in the space.”
They promise “warmth and hospitality and good vibes” at the cellar door. “Rufus and Rosie the cellar door dogs love our visitors and posing for the camera!” Preeti says.
“We serve light meals at the cellar door, as well as coffees and cakes which are in- house made. Our platters showcase the local producers we are lucky enough to have on our doorstep.”
They intend to continue to make small batch, premium quality, boutique wines from their dry grown vineyards.
Preeti’s picks from their current releases are the cellar series Rose and Chenin Blanc as “fruit forward, easy drinking styles, perfect for days in the sun. The new Sauvignon Blanc is proving to be popular also,” she says “Our production is limited by the size of our vineyard (6 acres). So remember once it’s gone, it’s gone!
More at www.bartonjoneswines.com.au
From Found Magazine