Leeuwin Estate in Margaret River is one of the most highly regarded Australian wineries. It has a global reputation for delicious wines, built over the last forty years. But their journey to world renowned winery may not even have happened at all! Denis and Trish Horgan bought the property on which Leeuwin Estate now stands in 1969. Did they dream of building a fine wine estate? Nope! Denis, a merchant banker in Perth, bought the property because it was attached to a plumbing business he wanted! The property lay untouched until in 1973 when Denis got a phone call from the US…
On the phone was an attorney from Seattle, Washington. Why the heck was an attorney in Seattle calling about a property in little old Margaret River? Surely he wasn’t interested in the plumbing business! A few probing questions from Denis and the attorney revealed that his client was Robert Mondavi, a man who was already a legend in the world of wine.
Who is Robert Mondavi and why is he so important?
Robert Mondavi is recognised as arguably the most important person in the modern wine. He put the Napa Valley wine region in California on the map with technical innovations and brilliant marketing strategies. He was a key advocate of labelling wines using their varietal name rather than generically. We have him to thank for making it easy for is to buy a wine labelled as the variety we love! So, when Robert Mondavi was interested in planting vines on your property it is a pretty good sign that it’s time to forget the plumbing business and start planting vines!
But Denis didn’t just hang up the phone and run out and plant vines! He got Robert to help as a consultant with the planning of the vineyards and the wine styles. One of Robert’s key pieces of advice was to plant Chardonnay, which was quite a rare variety in Australia in the 1970s and 1980s. This lead to Leeuwin Estate’s most iconic wine, the Art Series Chardonnay. This is a wine that helped define Australia as a fine wine producer, helping to show that Australia can make wines to rival the best in the world.
If you’d like to learn more about this wonderful Estate, you can immerse yourself in the Leeuwin story in Margaret River during Aussie Wine Month. Click here to learn more.