By Fergal Gleeson
Are you a lover of wine? Are you passionate about art? Then Flor Marché’s new cellar door could be the place to visit. Their wines can be tasted at Wilyabrup Dreaming, a local pottery, located off Caves Road in Margaret River.
The cellar door is in the gallery section but this is also a working pottery, so you can watch Bill Meiklejohn at the wheel as he crafts his unique forms.
Liz Reed, the Owner and Wine Maker at Flor Marché gave me the background to this collaboration. “I know Bill through diving. We free dive together. I was at stage in my business where I wanted to open a cellar door so it was symbiotic for us to partner.”
Bill Meiklejohn established Wilyabrup Dreaming in the 1990s and he makes a variety of conventional pottery forms as well as designs inspired by the sea, perhaps as a result of being a keen surfer and diver.
Liz filled me on her wine journey. “After graduating in Oenology, I spent my time jumping hemispheres, chasing summer in California, Israel, France and I had a project in Spain. The first vintage of Flor Marché was in 2010.”
“I was living in the Porongurup in the Great Southern and I bought some fruit to make Riesling and some Shiraz from Mount Barker. Since then I’ve expanded and now have 10 different wines under the Flor Marché label.”
“They are mostly made from Margaret River fruit but I also source Grenache from an 85 year old grower, who has 60 year old vines in the Swan River and I get Riesling and Pinot Noir from Pemberton.”
Flor Marché are part of a growing band of winemakers in the region including Dormilona, Blind Corner and Si Vintners using natural winemaking techniques.
“My experience in Spain and California inspired the interest in natural winemaking. The winemakers, I worked with, were intuitive and trusted their palate. They were not technical winemakers. It was not based on numbers in a lab.”
“They responded to the fruit. The approach to wine is part of a wider way of life. I eat wholesome foods, I drink rainwater. Flor Marché wines are made using natural winemaking techniques. All yeast used is naturally derived from the vineyard.”
“No acid or additional tannins are added. I have bad allergies so I’m cautious about additives!”
What wines should people particularly look out for? “Well that’s like asking a parent to pick their favourite child! The ethos is to work with varieties that are best from each region. I make wines that I like to drink.”
“After Spain I wanted to make a Grenache in the joven style (no oak). Then there are the premium wines that see more time on skins and in oak and are made to put down. So the different varieties make different wines for different situations.”
What would Liz like to achieve at Flor Marché? “Setting up the cellar door was a big ambition for me to build relationships with my direct customers. There is a long history of art and wine combining in the region.”
“So visitors have the opportunity to visit the gallery and see some beautiful crafts as well as enjoy a wine experience. Bill is an artisan and a craftsman so it fits with my philosophy.”
The Flor Marché cellar door is open Thursday to Sunday 10-4pm or by appointment and is located at 49 Willyabrup Road, Willyabrup.
This feature originally appeared in the summer issue of Your Margaret River Region Magazine. Photos courtesy of Flor Marche.