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Saturday 30 December 2023

New wine label to pay tribute to family heritage

A new wine label in Margaret River sees Ian Wright following in his parents’ pioneering footsteps.

The new Wrights Vineyard is a brand steeped in Margaret River winemaking tradition and family heritage.

On 33 hectares between Cowaramup and the coast, Wright is building on his family’s 50-year wine history.

The Wrights family wine story began back in 1973, when Henry and Maureen Wright planted their first vines. Back then there were only a handful of people experimenting in winemaking in Margaret River.

Producing vintage port, white port, "Hermitage", cabernet sauvignon and a semillon/sauvignon blanc/ chardonnay blend, the family earned a favourable reputation from what is now Juniper Estate, and where the original vines still remain.

“I can now appreciate what hard work it was back then, given all the challenges that they had being pioneers of the wine industry," Wright says. "That’s what has made me more passionate about doing it. One of the things my father always said was, great wine is made in the vineyard. There’s no question that that’s absolutely correct.”

Ian made his first wine at the age of 15 - around 300 bottles in total. He went on to study wine at Roseworthy Agricultural College - the only winemaking course available in Australia at the time.

He managed a number of successful business ventures after graduating, but he was never able to shake his passion for wine. So, in 2020 he took the plunge and brought an established Margaret River winery that produced wines under the Clownfish and Cowaramup Wines labels to re-start the Wright family tradition.

“I felt as though I’ve never really left," he said. "It’s been a few years now since my parents passed away, however, and I really felt the urge and the need to continue their legacy in whatever way I could. So, this whole reincarnation of Wright’s Vineyard is to fulfill that dream.” 

Paying tribute to his family, Ian has created a one-hectare Heritage Block of chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, sauvignon blanc and semillon. These vines were grown from cuttings taken from the original 1973 plantings at Wrights Wines in Wilyabrup.

Ian has partnered with two stars of the industry, viticulturalist Colin Bell and Deep Woods' winemaker Julian Langworthy as he builds his business with the first wines to be released in 2024.

In a nod to what was Wrights Wines' signature drop, Ian plans to reinvent their sought-after white port from original chardonnay and riesling vine cuttings.

Visit to learn about the reincarnation of Wrights in Margaret River.

Image: Ian and Yuka Wright, provided.

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