03/08/2004 - 22:00

Harewood prepares new role

03/08/2004 - 22:00

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Harewood prepares new role

Denmark winery Harewood Estate has produced fruit for some of the State’s top wine producers, most notably Howard Park Wines for more than a decade.

And while the winery, which produces 120 tonnes of fruit, still sells 80 per cent of its crush to other vineyards it is steadily boosting its portfolio of wines as it gears up to promote its own wine brands.

Former Howard Park Wines winemaker James Kellie, his father (also James), and sister Emma Rainbow acquired Harewood in July 2003.

“I was the winemaker at Howard Park for five and a half years and during my time there I was very impressed by The Great Southern and the fruit produced here and the depth and the quality from the riesling right through to the cabernet shiraz,” Mr Kellie says.

Mr Kellie had been using Harewood fruit at Howard Park and also made Harewood’s then two labels, chardonnay and pinot noir.

“When I was at Howard Park we bought fruit from Harewood and we made wines for Harewood for about six years,” he says.

“The chardonnay from the vineyard [Harewood] was, out of the top 40 to 50 we had from the State, this was always the best. It made up about 80 to 90 per cent of the Howard Park Chardonnay. The pinot was also the best,” he says.

“We’re still selling 80 per cent of the production to Howard Park.

“We produce too much for us to sell by ourselves.”

Since its inception in 1988, making Harewood one of the oldest vineyards in Denmark, it has been predominantly a grower, not a retailer.

But with the addition this year of a riesling, shiraz, and a sauvignon blanc to its chardonnay and pinot noir varieties, the focus is shifting.

“We’ve been doing chardonnay and pinot and doing that really well for years. We’re just going to broaden the range to take advantage of the fruit grown in the region and also from a price point of view,” Mr Kellie says. 

“The chardonnay and pinot are about $30 but now we’ve got a range from $15 to $30.

“The philosophy is to showcase The Great Southern and to do that we can’t grow cabernet or a great shiraz, so what we’ve done is bought grapes from the people that do it really well,” he says.

“We’ve got Mt Barker Riesling, a Frankland Shiraz, a Denmark Sauvignon Blanc and a Denmark Chardonnay and a Denmark Pinot Noir.”

After bottling Harewood will have 3,000 cases of wine and Mr Kellie is actively seeking distributors and stockists to sell the wines.

A cellar door opened in January and Mr Kellie said tourism has lifted the region in the past couple of years.

“I think a lot of people have seen the opportunities down here and as Margaret River has developed people have more interest here. A lot of the wineries from Margaret River were using fruit from the Great Southern for a while; they just haven’t acknowledged it.

“From a tourism point of view it’s just getting bigger and bigger.

“Trying to find a park here over Easter is difficult.”

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