Five Names To Watch In WA Wine

Western Australian wine has never been more exciting with a new generation of small producers breaking through in recent times.

We've spent the last few months seeking out the brightest young talents in the West to bring you a comprehensive hit-list to keep your finger on the pulse of WA wine.

Some fresh new names for some of you here, including funky new-school labels South By South West and Vallee Du Venom, the fascinating Iberian-inspired wines of Mazza and a new entrant into the Margaret River upper echelon, Trait Wines.

On top of that, we have icon releases available from WA Top Dogs, Leeuwin Estate, Cullen and the recently released 99 point Farvie Grenache and Syrah from Frankland River tearaways, Swinney.

We have the very best of the West and the future leaders of the state all on offer in the collection below.


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The Swinney family's roots in Frankland River stretch back over 100 years.

George John Alexander Swinney was a pioneer of the region, settling a grazing property in Franklands in 1922. Today the property is run by fourth-generation brother and sister, Matt and Janelle Swinney. They are taking the family property into great new territory.

Bush vines litter the property. Riesling, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre are fining a very happy home on the ironstone slopes above the Frankland River.

Now, with viticulturalist wizard Lee Haselgrove tending the vines and sixth-generation winemaker Rob Mann crafting the wines in the cellar, this label is on track to become one of the regional benchmarks in short order. In just their third vintage release, their super-premium Farvie Wines have taken the Australian wine media by storm.

These limited release examples of estate-grown Grenache and Syrah have quickly inserted themselves in the conversation around the country's finest examples of each variety. They are game-changing wines for WA - impressive in stature and poised for an incredible future given more time in bottle.

With massive reviews and stirring words surrounding their release, our small allocations won't last long.


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South By South West


South By Southwest

Rated one of the finalists for the 2022 Halliday Wine Companion Dark Horse Winery of the Year, South By South West is one of the names to watch in the West right now.

Founded by two wine adventurers, Mijan Patterson and Livia Maiorana, SXSW is a contemporary, meandering négociant working in an age-old profession.

In addition to their own organically farmed Wallcliffe vineyard, fruit is sourced independently from a loyal network of pioneering growers - the results are small batches of unique and ever-changing styles, varietals, and blends that highlight the charm of the south west region.


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Vallee Du Venom

Vallee du Venom

While he spent the summers of his youth helping in a friend's family vineyard in the Swan Valley, Rhys Parker never envisioned a career in winemaking.

Fast forward to adulthood, and a boring desk job proved to be even less appealing, so winemaking beckoned.

Alongside his wife Emma, Vallee du Venom was born with the goal to produce expressive wines, with a minimal intervention approach.

Based in Margaret River, they make fruit-forward, highly-drinkable wines, that are full of “glugability”. It's a stylish, modern lo-fi approach that is yielding delicious results.


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Trait Wines

It may be pronounced Traits, but it's spelt Truyts. Theo Truyts is a Lesothian ex-pat, who worked with several South African wineries before coming to Margaret River. Clare Trythall is a British ex-pat who works as an emergency doctor. The couple met in 2013 and, six years later, Theo was offered management of a site he had worked with during his early years in Australia. The vineyard was deemed 'un-machineable' and was in danger of being left to the elements. Ever decreasing yields? Too costly to run? Challenge accepted.

The pair spent 2019 revitalising the vineyard between their day jobs and new child. The site can only be tended to by hand, but the fruit is immaculate and the reviews that have been forthcoming have been excellent. The resulting wines can only be seen as testaments to their dedication, care and passion and they have a huge future ahead.


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Mazza Wines

In 2002, Anne and David Mazza were inspired by a trip through Spain and Portugal to plant Bastardo, Graciano, Tempranillo, Tinta Cao, Touriga and Sousao - all grapes from the Iberian Peninsula on their Geograph vineyard. They are proudly waving the flag for these grapes and their increased use in Australian wine. With inherent suitability to the climate, the vineyards are minimally irrigated and sprayed, making them great reflections of terroir.

Dave and Anna have already gotten the attention from several winemakers, who have used the fruit for their own wines and have been inspired to plant them themselves. The critics have been glowing in their response to the wines also, with some huge score from the Wine Companion team. The future in Geographe for this couple looks very bright.


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