13/10/2014 - 15:20

Weddings, parties, everything

13/10/2014 - 15:20

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A new multi-million dollar complex looks set to boost the Swan Valley’s profile.

Weddings, parties, everything
UNIQUE FEEL: Travers O’Rafferty says Mandoon Estate has plenty to offer those seeking a wide variety of entertainment options. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Mandoon Estate was until recently a relative unknown in the Swan Valley, but that’s set to change as the owners of the Caversham venue unveil a multi-million dollar redevelopment two years in the making.

Property developer Allan Erceg has invested in the development of what was formerly a boutique vineyard, winery, and cellar door run out of a simple farm shed.

Now the property features two restaurants (one fine dining the other more brew-pub style), a brewery, function centre for corporate events and weddings, an outside bar and delicatessen, and a revamped cellar door.

At its core is what’s understood to be the state’s largest commercial kitchen headed by renowned international chef Michael Hartnell (a coup for Western Australia considering Mr Hartnell has been responsible for menus at Melbourne’s Eureka 89, Le Caprice restaurant at the Pierre Hotel in New York City, and Daphne’s in London).

Mr Hartnell also has a team of 17 chefs working with him from a total pool of 65 employees across the complex.

Managing the new venue, which opened to the public last month, is Travers O’Rafferty, who spent six years as Leeuwin Estate’s hospitality manager before buying in to Mr Erceg’s vision for Mandoon Estate in 2012.

“Allan found out about me and came and had a chat and sold me the vision of what was happening here,” Mr O’Rafferty told Business News.

“I couldn’t say no … the opportunity to come in at the ground level and create something unique was really attractive.

“And to have a multi-purpose venue like this where you have almost got the triangle of food, wine and beer was really attractive as well.”

From the outset, Mr O’Rafferty recognised there was significant potential for a development like Mandoon Estate and the Swan Valley, which he said had an edge over Margaret River.

“The Swan Valley has a lot of unique selling points –probably mostly that it has a more authentic base,” Mr O’Rafferty said.

The redevelopment has worked to retain the site’s authentic heritage, evidenced by a complete refurbishment of the original homestead, built in 1907.

The development has also included establishment of the namesake Homestead Brewery, which is the only one of its kind in Australia using German-made equipment.

Securing head brewer Ron Feruglio has also been a win for Mandoon Estate (he’s another who relocated to join the team after co-founding successful Melbourne brewery The Temple Brewing Company).

Perth bar owners already are showing interest in the beer and cider brewed on site.

Any sales will add to Mandoon Estate’s wine production; it’s targeting sales of around 90,000 litres for the most recent vintage.

Mandoon Estate is positioning itself to be a standout events venue and is seeking to join neighbour Sandalford Estate in hosting music concerts.

In addition, Mr O’Rafferty said Mandoon Estate expected to hold about 65 weddings per year, with 15 booked in the venue’s first week for the 12 months ahead.

It is also targeting the corporate sector with its standalone conference facility, which has seating capacity for 400 people – putting it alongside Novotel Perth Langley and Fraser’s Kings Park in terms of size.  

Next on the cards is construction of chalet-style accommodation units, which will provide accommodation for up to 32 people.

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