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Sunday 22 January 2023

Family pays tribute to a century of Margaret River toil

The Credaro family, synonymous with both farming and wine in the Margaret River Region in Western Australia is celebrating 100 years in the region. 

 Over the past century, the Credaro Estate, just like the family, has grown, yet the business remains family run, making it the oldest family-run winery in Western Australia’s south west.

The family story began in 1921 when Cesare Credaro migrated from Sondrio, Lombardy, in Italy’s north, following his brother Olympio to Fremantle in search of a better life after World War I.

The following year, the brothers found themselves in the south west region with an opportunity to purchase 146 acres of land in the Carbunup sub-region, midway between Yallingup and Busselton.

The Western Australian Government sold the land to the brothers for £250 pounds on the condition that they continued to cut wood for railway sleepers and clear the land for farming.

Robert Credaro, Cesare’s grandson, still has the broad axe his grandfather used.

“They had saw pits where they’d roll a big log over and they’d be one guy above and one below ground in the pit sawing by hand, which would have been hard work,” said father-of-five Robert.

Cesare sourced vine cuttings from some Italian neighbours, the Meleri family in Yallingup, and planted his first fragola vines in 1922.

Cesare helped the Meleris tend their own existing five acres of fragola while he waited for his own to fruit, from which he made table wine for family, friends and the community.

“Back then, fragola was known as ‘Red Dynamite’ and it was enjoyed by family and friends as well as sold and consumed at the Carbunup hall, which was the community’s social hub at the time,” Robert said.

Cuttings from that first Credaro vineyard live on with fragola one of the winery’s cornerstone varietals.

Alongside cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay that have traditionally thrived in the region, the five Credaro vineyards - with a total of 110 hectares under vine - produce pinot gris, merlot, sangiovese, semillon, sauvignon blanc, cabernet franc, shiraz, malbec, petit verdot and fragola.

“It’s humbling to look back to where it all started and hear the stories of all the hard work and sacrifices my great grandfather, grandfather and father have made to give their family a better life.” said Matt Credaro.

“To honour that, we’ve grafted Italian varietals montepulciano, nebbiolo and barbera for a future Credaro Heritage Range.

“Not only are we really excited to celebrate one hundred years in the region, we’re looking forward to the future and the next hundred years.”

The Credaros have a diverse agricultural history in the Margaret River Region. They have raised livestock including sheep and cattle, and nurtured a range of fresh produce, from the potatoes Cesare traded a century ago to avocados and pomegranates.

The first commercial crop of vines was planted in 1988, and in 2003, the Credaros built a winery and soon after established their own namesake label.

To celebrate their centenary in the Margaret River Region, Credaro Wines will host a series of events over the next 12 months, including a family day at their Caves Road cellar door in April.

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