By Fergal Gleeson
For more than 20 years, the Cotterells have been growing grapes for some of the region’s premium producers. However this year Craig Cotterell and partner Maria Bergstrom have decided to release wines under their own Jilyara label for the first time.
The winery’s icon is of the golden bee and the name ‘Jilyara’ is derived from ‘Djilyaro’, meaning ‘bees’ in the local indigenous Noongar language.
The bees live in four hives at the corners of their vineyard. The bees support the healthy ecosystem surrounding the vineyard. And their importance is recognised by the winery.
“We have grown grapes for a long time, supplying some of the region’s top wineries,” Maria tells me. “However, the dream has always been to see the process from beginning to end.
“It’s really lovely to see the product of hard work in the vineyard showing in a beautiful bottle of wine.”
“It’s terrifying at times!” she says of their transition to making wine. “Maybe that’s one reason it’s taken this long for us to go that next step. However, it’s also incredibly exciting and fun. Our strength is to grow quality fruit in a clean and sustainable manner, avoiding shortcuts.”
“We pay attention to detail, which is possible since Craig and I do most of the work, with a few people helping out when required. We don’t have a cellar door at this stage, but we welcome visits by appointment.”
“That’s a tough one!” Maria laughs, when asked to pick her favourites for summer. “They’re all scrumptious – a warm summer afternoon calls for a chilled Honeycomb Corner Sauvignon Blanc or Heath Road Chardonnay, while a Cabernet or Malbec would go down well with a BBQ.”
From Your Margaret River Region Magazine