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The Region – Margaret River
The Margaret River wine region, in the South West of Western Australia, has international recognition for its wine varieties and quality. Bounded by the cool southern reaches of the Indian Ocean, it is characterised by a Mediterranean climate which combines with well drained gravel loamy soils to produce premium wines of distinctive elegance and power, with complex fruit flavours and intense bouquets.
Location – situated in the ‘dress circle’ of the Margaret River wineries and within the Margaret River Geographical Indication (a critical marketing advantage)
Soils – the vineyard site was selected after extensive soil tests confirmed the existence of soils ideally suited to the production of premium wine grapes
Visibility – the winery is ideally situated just 4.8 km south of the Margaret River townsite on the main regional highway and at the turnoff to Leeuwin and Voyager Estates
The first release wines in 2002 were produced by then wine making consultant, John Wade, at a contract winery in Margaret River. The second vintage in 2003 sourced grapes from contract growers and, for the first time, fruit from the Watershed vineyard was processed at the Watershed winery by our Winemaker.
In December 2004 the first of the reserve style range was released with the 2004 Awakening Sauvignon Blanc, followed shortly by the 2004 Awakening Chardonnay and the 2003 Awakening Cabernet Sauvignon. Now onto their second vintages, these flagship wines have received a host of accolades and awards.
In February 2005 the 2004 Viognier was released, becoming the first wine to be produced from 100% Watershed fruit. It has since been accompanied by the 2004 Zinfandel and 2004 Sangiovese (since sold out) as fully estate grown wines. Watershed recently made the innovative decision to bottle ALL varietal wines under screw cap, not traditional cork, reducing the risk of spoilage due to ‘cork taint’ and also embracing progressive technology. Watershed now has 4 vineyards.
Stage 1 planted in August 2001 covers 80 hectares under vine. Stage 2, adjacent to Stage 1 was planted in August 2004 and covers 37 hectares under vine. Stage 3 and 4 are in the Jindong area of the Margaret River appellation and cover 70 hectares under vine with room for another 45 hectares of vines. These were planted between 2006 and 2008.
Behind the label
The definition of watershed is ‘to go to a new (higher) level of understanding; an awakening’. A second meaning is ‘a high area of land between two bodies of water’. Both meanings are appropriate to Watershed Premium Wines.
The Watershed label was designed by Roland Butcher and incorporates a purple room with a four paned window on the wall. Green vines can be seen looking out of the window, however, the main focus is a ray of light streaming through the glass and diffusing across the floor, symbolizing a human being’s ‘stream of consciousness’ – a creative but almost uncontrollable thought process, spurred on by small inspirations, all leading to a final revelation, or awakening.
Watershed Premium Wines is responsible for the single largest initial vineyard planting in the region.
With 150 hectares under vine, in the vintage 2012 Watershed crushed around 800 tonnes with a future expectation of 2,000 tonnes – that’s around eight times as much as the region’s largest boutique vineyards.
45% of vines are currently made up of red varietals, 55% being white varietals There are currently 1,200 vine rows on the Stage 1 property – measuring 270km, the distance between Margaret River and Perth!
As well as Margaret River’s traditional varieties of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, some alternative varietals have been planted, such as Zinfandel, Sangiovese and Viognier. The first vintage grapes were sourced from several growers in the Margaret River region, off vines between 7 to 20 years in age.