Family owned, family run and local; Victory Point is one to watch
Victory Point Wines: Western Australian family owned winery
Loving all that WA has to offer, I was thrilled to be able to visit a new cellar door on my recent trip to Margaret River. Only opened in October of last year, Victory Point will no doubt start attracting an increasing number of visitors over the coming months.
Jude and Gary Berson have always had a love of Margaret River and the great outdoors. Life in Perth was busy with Gary working as a lawyer, Jude in money markets and both raising three children. The family owned a fishing shack in Gracetown for a number of years and would visit on weekends before deciding to step into the viticultural world.
After deciding to go out on their own and set up a vineyard, Jude and Gary worked with Keith Mugford of Moss Wood who, as their consultant advised them about viticulture including the best soils for the grape varieties they wanted to grow. Keith made their first Cabernet Sauvignon which was released in 2003. Tasted recently at the opening of the cellar door, it shows potential to age even further. No longer professionally involved, Keith remains a friend and was at the recent tastings.
Victory Point Cellar Door
The cellar door is located on Holben Road just south of Cowaramup. A little off the beaten track, two old farm gates with the Victory Point logo front and centre greet visitors as they enter what was a former paddock. The 14.5 hectares, planted in 1998 with family and friends now produces 2,500 cases across a core range of four wines all sold domestically. The grapes have never been irrigated with minimal intervention offering a true expression of the soil and climate.
There is plenty of parking from which guests can walk up the slight slope on the wide cement path to the sheltered porch and into the cool cellar door with its large doors. The huge rectangular window in the cellar door offers breathtaking views of the Cabernet vines as they slope down towards the lake with the Chardonnay vines on the opposite side. The cellar door is spacious, light with a beautiful wide marri tasting bench in the centre. The number of awards for such a young winery are highlighted on newly furbished walls and shelves.
Award winning wines from the start
For the first two vintages of Chardonnay, Victory Point received 94 points from Halliday. Since then the winery has been awarded Gold medals from Halliday across their ten successive vintages. Victory Point hasn’t just impressed Australian judges but international too with the 2010 Chardonnay receiving a gold medal at the International Wine Challenge (IWC) in London and the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon received a silver. At the 2019 IWC, the current 2015 Chardonnay vintage was awarded a Silver and the current Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 vintage was given a Gold.
Family owned and local
The company remains family owned and employs local Juniper winemaker Mark Messenger and Colin Bell as the viticulturist. Colin was recently named ‘Australian Viticulturist of the year’ which is even more of an achievement for the team as Colin was the first viticulturist from Western Australia to be awarded this from the Viticulturist Society. Gary and Jude work with the winemaker throughout the vintage, especially on the blending where they see the final blend as “a recipe coming together.”
The Bersons are also friends with Bill Pannell of Picardy who was heavily involved in clonal trials in Burgundy. Jude and Gary were fortunate to be one of the first to use the Chardonnay Dijon clones that Bill had brought into WA to make the style of Chardonnay they were after. Now two thirds of the vineyard consists of the Mendoza clone and the rest are the four Dijon clones that Bill brought in. Clones differ from being more minerally to more floral. As the grapes ripen, Jude will bring the cuttings to the cellar door to highlight the difference in the grape clones to visitors.
The rosé is unique as a blend of three different varietals not typically found in a Margaret River rosé; Cabernet Franc (45%) Pinot Noir (39%) and Malbec (16%). Gary and Jude were inspired to use Malbec in the blend from an earlier trip to Château Lagrézette, in the south east of Bordeaux which make a dry rosé of 80% Malbec. The team aim to work with the fruit of the vintage to create a dry style with the spicy varieties providing fruit sweetness. After fermentation, the wine is stored in neutral oak barrels and matured on yeast lees with some stirring for four months in order to build texture and complexity.
Tasting at the Cellar Door
At the cellar door, on tasting there are five wines:
Victory Point Rosé 2018: a fresh and vibrant wine which made its debut during the 2009 vintage and has been a family member ever since. This is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Malbec.
Victory Point Chardonnay 2015: Fermentation using wild yeast with 10-20% going through malolactic fermentation.
Victory Point Mallee Root 2016: This is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Malbec and 10% Petit Verdot which is blended to be approachable while it is young.
Victory Point Malbec 2013: As Jude explains, “the fruit for this vintage came in really bright and the winemaker wanted to show off this varietal as Malbec grows well here.” I really enjoyed this wine and loved the freshness of it even after 5 years of age.
Victory Point Cabernet Sauvignon 2015: This is a blend of Cabernet (87%), Petit Verdot of 11% bringing the acidity together and 2% Malbec with a wonderful juiciness.
Victory Point Rosé 2018 is featured in the current issue of On the Vine. Click here for details.
And have a browse through the new website launched today! Or visit them at the cellar door where you will also be able to taste small parcels of single varietal wines which are exclusive to the cellar door. Jude will be there to greet you and take you through the wines from Thursday to Monday.
Swanny Cellars is a big supporter of Victory Point wines. Drop in or call us about the range of wines that we stock!
Text written by Ruth Turnbull, Swanny Cellar’s Roaming Reporter.
About the Roaming Reporter:
Ruth Turnbull is the Roaming Reporter for Swanbourne Cellars. Having studied the WSET Advanced Certificate and WSET Diploma in Wines and Spirits, Ruth has worked in the wine trade in both London and Perth for over 15 years. While living in WA, Ruth was a regular Panel member on the Liquor Barons Panel and managed the digital marketing for Swanbourne Cellars. Now based in Adelaide, Ruth focuses on meeting the winemakers and the people behind the brand in order to highlight and share their story on the Swanbourne Cellars blog and social media channels.