A pioneering spirit coupled with knowledge and understanding of sound viticultural practice led to the establishment of this 16 hectare vineyard in the early 1970’s. The basic viticultural principles of soil, site and variety, or in this case ‘varieties’, have created quality and consistency beyond all expectations, as evidenced by the iconic Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon. Picking and pruning is carried out by hand in the Wallcliffe Vineyard, to give the utmost respect to these vines and to ensure continued production of the fresh, vibrant and stylish wines that have become the trademark of Cape Mentelle.
Varieties planted at Wallcliffe are sauvignon blanc, semillon, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, zinfandel and shiraz and these vines have provided source material for new blocks as the vineyard has expanded. The site has the luxury of ample water and classic deep gravelly soils. It is sheltered by surrounding bush and fanned by gentle south-westerly winds. The east-west orientation of the rows was originally thought to provide protection from prevailing winds, but in some seasons this orientation necessitates judicious leaf plucking to even out ripeness.
The three cabernet sauvignon blocks are cane pruned. Row spacing is mostly 3 m, with 1.5 to 1.8 m vine spacing with predominantly vertical shoot positioning trellising. There is some bush vine zinfandel.
Evolving from the success of the Wallcliffe Vineyard, Trinders was developed on the eastern side of the Estate entry road in 1988 when Cape Mentelle purchased the 23 hectare site. The same viticultural principles apply, with soil, site and proven varieties being the key to the success of this now well established vineyard.
Plantings are of semillon, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot and shiraz. This block has been the testing ground for many early ‘organic’ methods, including making and incorporating compost for vine nutrition, undervine weeding and minimal chemical use for pest and disease control.
Numerous trellis systems have been tried in the past. Vertical shoot positioning is now used in most of the vineyard to facilitate ripening by keeping the canopies upright and ensuring even sun exposure.
Chapman Brook Vineyard
Chapman Brook boasts some of the best growing sites in the region. The undulating slopes help to create wines of uncompromised freshness. The 40 hectare Chapman Brook Vineyard is located 20 km south east of the Margaret River township with a predominantly easterly aspect and some south east and north east slopes. Varying depths of sandy loam topsoil overlie ironstone gravel with varying degrees of heavy clay subsoil.
This vineyard was planted in the early 1990s, mostly to white varieties - sauvignon blanc, semillon, chardonnay and viognier. The Mendoza chardonnay clone is planted here along with some newer clones of the main varieties. Vertical shoot positioning is used throughout this challenging vineyard with 2 m vine spacing and row spacing and unilateral cordons.
The steep slopes offer great views from high points as the land slopes down to the Chapman Brook. Soil moisture monitoring equipment is used at all vineyards but is critical at this site due to the limited water.