07/05/2008 - 22:00

Gralyn contains growth

07/05/2008 - 22:00

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Merelyn and Graham Hutton are among a handful of pioneers who started planting vines in Margaret River in the 1970s.

Gralyn contains growth

Merelyn and Graham Hutton are among a handful of pioneers who started planting vines in Margaret River in the 1970s. Unlike other wineries of their vintage, however, they took a softly softly approach to marketing and, in doing so, have created a fruitful point of difference.

From the very start, Gralyn Estate has been a small winery producing a quality wine distributed only through the cellar door and mail orders, without retail or restaurant sales.

“It means they [the customers] go through that little bit of extra trouble to seek the wine,”Mrs Hutton told WA Business News.

“Of course coming here to this cellar door is also about the tasting experience and we consider that to be memorable for our customers because the focus is on high quality tasting.

“Gradually, customers are more and more accepting like that and it has given us that point of difference.”

The winery has kept its boutique size with a 4.5-hectare vineyard, one of the smallest in the region, from which all the wines are made.

As opposed to larger wineries, the vineyard is hand pruned and the grapes hand picked.

“We recognised that it’s important to have the balance right, and for us it’s not just about growing the business; it’s about how we do it, the profile of the winery,” Mrs Hutton said.

Gralyn recently stopped selling some of its cabernet sauvignon grapes to other wineries, following strong demand for the premium dry red after its Gralyn Cabernet sauvignon 2001 was well received at the 2003 International London Wine Show.

Gralyn wines target a top-end market and the boutique winery has also developed a museum wine catalogue over the years, which is starting to appeal to the international market.

“There are a lot more people, especially on the international market, who are looking for aged premium reds,” Mrs Hutton said.

The Huttons said they started in the wine industry by accident, having bought the land on Caves Road with the intention of running a livestock farm.

“We went into wine because in the early seventies, when we set up the farm, the price of the beef was very low and we really had to diversify to survive,” Mrs Hutton said

“We drank some of the early wines in the area, and although we didn’t know much about wine we recognised that there was something very special about those grapes, so we decided that a small vineyard may be the way to go.”

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