The land that Juniper Estate occupies was originally part of the Group Settlement Scheme, and was known as Sussex Location 2738. In the 1920's, Western Australia’s Premier, Sir James Mitchell, was the engineer of this scheme which sought to reduce Western Australia’s reliance on imported dairy products by establishing a number of dairy farms in the southwest. Groups of twenty families - whi... Read more
The land that Juniper Estate occupies was originally part of the Group Settlement Scheme, and was known as Sussex Location 2738. In the 1920's, Western Australia’s Premier, Sir James Mitchell, was the engineer of this scheme which sought to reduce Western Australia’s reliance on imported dairy products by establishing a number of dairy farms in the southwest. Groups of twenty families - which were usually from poor backgrounds - were given 160 acres each, conditional on clearing it and establishing a dairy farm. The scheme was described as ‘a glorious failure’ and was abolished in 1930, mainly due to the hardship that it inflicted upon the participants. Nevertheless it was instrumental in establishing a number of townships as well as a fledgling dairy industry. By the end of WW2 a decent sized area (more than one 100-acre lot) around the Estate was in the possession of the Honeywood family and Richard Juniper, an Englishman, married their daughter Linda. He became the registered proprietor of the land including ours in 1949. Robert Juniper the renowned Western Australian artist and son of Richard, lived there en famille in the 50's. The offspring of the union continued the tradition of dairy farming 1970 when the property was subdivided into three lots and sold, because of the economic downturn in traditional dairy farming. It was the time of newly introduced milk quotas – an introduction which some dairy farmers could not, nor had the wish to accomplish. Geoff (Robert's brother) and his wife Sue Juniper sold off 35 acres to Henry and Maureen Wright, who had arrived from Kenya in 1964. Henry had been a District Commissioner in the British Colonial Service, based in the remote boarder country in the north of Kenya . Somali guerrillas had been active in their time there and when they were living on the Tana River their house was attacked and a fire fight ensued. With the help of four armed guards the attack was repelled. Henry and Maureen purchased the property specifically to plant a vineyard and start making wine. This was a courageous decision at the time as viticulture was a new and unknown entity in the Margaret River region, particularly as their dream was not financed by other income. In addition, the couple were self taught producers. At the time of purchase, the land was covered by indifferent pasture with a few clumps of trees. The natural feature of a large north eastern facing slope was its main attraction as a viticultural proposition. The Wrights planned, contoured and planted the vineyard with little or no supervised help. It was a huge task to clear and fence the selected block of gravelly loam, as well as preparing a nursery for later plantings. By the end of 1974 they had planted 22 acres of Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. In 1978 the winery was completed and the first commercial vintage was in 1979 which saw the release of three varietal wines; Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Rhine Riesling. Maureen left her job at a Busselton dental clinic to look after cellar door sales, later completing a marketing course at the Roseworthy Agricultural College. In 1981 a further 8 acres of Semillon and some Chardonnay were planted. Shiraz formed a major part of the planting program, which was unusual at the time. Many saw Cabernet Sauvignon as the ultimate varietal to showcase the potential of Margaret River reds. However, the Wrights believed that the Shiraz grape adapted itself well to cooler climate viticulture with its capacity to produce a soft but complex wine. Time has shown that Margaret River Shiraz shows attractive depth of fruit coupled with good colour and tannins. An early indication of the potential of Shiraz was at the SGIO awards in 1986 when the 1984 Wrights Hermitage won the ‘Best Full Bodied Dry Red from Margaret River’ class. The Wrights sold the property in 1998 to the Hill family and Dr. Viv Booker. Dr. Booker sold his share in the business to the Hills in 2007. The new ownership saw an injection of funds and the construction of a modern winery and upgrading of the cellar door. Winemaker Mark Messenger joined Juniper from the renowned winery, Cape Mentelle. Cape Mentelle had purchased grapes from the Wrights in the early 1990’s, so Mark knew the potential of the vineyard. The opportunity at the end of 1998 to oversee the resurrection of this vineyard and make superb wines from some of the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz vines in Margaret River was a challenge too good to let pass. Since the acquisition, the Hill family has steadily invested into the Estate, and has purchased two other supplementary properties – the Higher Plane vineyard in Forest Grove in the southerly reaches of Margaret River, and one in Metricup, just to the north of the Estate which will in time provide fruit for the Juniper Crossing label. Read less
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Food Pairings for Juniper Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River
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