Why we chose the Swan Valley
The Swan River spills from the plateau which rises above the Perth coastal plain parallel to the Western Australian coast, about 30 km inland from the Indian Ocean. The eroded western edge of the plateau has the appearance of hills from the plain and is known as the “Darling Scarp”. Faber Vineyard sits on the coastal plain at the base of the plateau, between the river and the “hills”. It is a hot region, sunny and dry in summer and autumn, and windy – the cooling sea breezes in the afternoon and easterly gales at night.
The Swan Valley is one of Australia’s oldest winemaking regions – grapes were planted soon after settlement in 1829, and commercial winemaking developed in the 1860s. Vineyards grew to cover most of the Swan Valley by the 1950s. Many of today’s grape growers and winemakers are following in the footsteps of their fathers and grandfathers. And a new influx of winemakers is taking advantage of the Swan’s potential.
We believe that wine should taste of grapes – we value purity of fruit flavour and want delicious fruit characters to drive our wines. We expect weight and fullness to come from ripeness, an extension of flavour, not simply more tannin or more acid. We want to make wines that sing of their origins – their variety, their home. The winemaker should preserve and highlight the fruit from which the wine is made, not disguise it. We don’t believe in muddy or earthy or funky wine – these wines could come from anywhere and be made from anything. Wines driven by fruit are fresh and appealing with great drinkability. Complexity comes from age – allowing the flavours and balance of the wine to integrate and evolve into new richer, deeper flavours.
We selected the Swan Valley as our home because of its rich heritage of winemaking and its potential to make outstanding wines in the style we believe in – full flavoured, sweet fruited and drinkable. Faber Vineyard with its ironstone soils formed from erosion of the plateau above, the strong gully winds at night, and the hot sun ensure we grow ripe healthy, intensely concentrated grapes – the key to achieving our vision. The two varieties we believe best achieve this are verdelho and shiraz. Both these varieties generate attractive flavour and body in warm areas and in the Swan have an excellent record of aging and maturing for years and decades even. As well, brown muscat ripens and forms luscious raisins allowing us to make the intense liqueur style which is part of the valley’s heritage. The key to making outstanding wines is sourcing great fruit. We grow most of our Swan Valley grapes on Faber Vineyard, the balance we purchase from the best growers. We also select fruit from further afield where the quality allows us to make excellent wines that complement those we make here in the Swan Valley.