The Wilyabrup Valley

The heart of Margaret River

The Wilyabrup Valley is a place with a history of being different, recognised well before wine. The combination of laterite topsoil and gravel subsoil, the mix of the Southern Ocean with the Indian, and the watercourses that have given the land its slopes, all make a place with its own voice.

Fine wine is a subtle thing. Often the difference between one terroir and another is that “from time to time it rains there, but it doesn’t rain here”, or “a warm wind comes through the valley here, but not there”. It all adds up, if you’re paying attention, and if you can capture it.

We’ve always believed in Wilyabrup. Woodlands wines will only ever come from 100% Wilyabrup Valley fruit –  not for any perception of quality, it is simply who we are. This is where we’re from, and that’s why Wilyabrup Valley is front and center on the label. We hope our Wilyabrup Valley series can take you here, to our little valley.

2020 Chardonnay

Fruit solely from the Wilyabrup Valley

This Chardonnay shows off the excellent character of the 2020 vintage, a hot dry growing season with low crops.

Fermentation went well without any yeast being added, with some barrels also undergoing malolactic conversion in barrel. Following fermentation, 60 percent of the wine was transferred to tank, which we believe retains freshness. 

Bright, racy, and delicate, the wine shows Wilyabrup’s classic orchard fruits and finishes with an almost salty freshness

2019 Cabernet Franc Merlot

50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Merlot

This is a very fruit filled wine, belying a fantastic structure underneath. It is bright crimson in colour, with notes of dried fig leaves and a seductive subtle smokiness.

The palate opens up with the warmth of black cherries, mulberry, and jumbo blueberries, evolving into roasted almond and berry compote, and finishing with rich ripe fruits.

Its charm grabs the attention for sure, but stay patient. This wine will age well, and show its true structure in a couple of years.

2019 Malbec

100% Wilyabrup Valley Malbec

We love Malbec, and this wine is exactly why – It’s alluring, exotic, and often approachable young. Saying a wine is approachable doesn’t mean it’s light or unstructured – and in this instance this wine is far far from that!

This wine is pure, bright, and effortless. It maintains the ‘grape’ flavour from the fruit while adding layers of complexity and tannin behind. Just lovely!

This wine is available for Membership holders only.

2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot

A blend of the five Bordeaux varieties.

The greatest vintage of this wine we have ever produced. The 2018 growing season was absolutely ideal, and will certainly go down in history as one of Margaret River’s greatest. 

The palate is seamless and integrated, and very dense and powerful. Waves of soft ripe fruits combine with the array of ripe velvety tannins, finishing with lively acidity.

Extremely expressive from beginning to end – seamless, dense, and beautifully powerful.

We cannot recommend this wine enough – simply outstanding!

History and Location

A series of gentle slopes found alongside tributaries to the Wilyabrup Brook.

The report of Dr John Gladstones in 1965 stimulated a great interest in planting particularly Cabernet Sauvignon in Margaret River, recommending the area around what is now known as Wilyabrup as his preferred region for this variety. In his letter of 23 June 1966, Dr John Gladstones wrote “Overall the evidence seems to me to point to the area along the coast road or slightly east of it (in any case not less than say, 1-2 miles from the sea) from immediately west of Cowaramup northwards as far as perhaps Yallingup. Within this area soils would be the critical factor, and almost certainly the best would be in the southern part, west and northwest of Cowaramup.  That then would be my pick: somewhere in the drainage areas of either Wilyabrup Brook or Big Brook.”

In his conceptual plan for separating the Margaret River wine region into different sub-regions, Dr John Gladstones thus defines the Wilyabrup sub-region in Margaret River as consisting of the combined drainage basins of the Wilyabrup and Cowaramup brooks, which drain westwards to the Indian Ocean.

Wilyabrup was the first site of the earliest modern commercial plantings in Margaret River. The first trial in 1966 was undertaken on a quarter acre of land and this was followed by commercial plantings in the following year. Wilyabrup, which remains the major and most intensely planted part of the Margaret River region, was thus the first sub-region, whose wines highlighted the quality of its styles from young vines and now from fully mature vines.  These wines have fully borne out the predictions that, based on climate, the Bordeaux grape varieties were particularly well suited to the Wilyabrup sub-region.

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Soil Profile and Weather

Vines prosper on the Wilyabrup soils.

The gravel subsoil ensures good drainage, while the high clay content enables good water retention throughout summer.

The weather in the Wilyabrup Valley is characterised by high winter rainfall and long dry summers. The Indian Ocean surrounds the region to the north and west, providing a moderating effect on the temperature.

The area benefits from exposure to ample warmth and sunshine and a strong maritime influence and from little direct exposure to winds from the north and northeast. There is a tendency for diurnal east west air convection cells to form in summer, due to the lie of the land. Wilyabrup is too far north to receive a strong influence from southerly winds.

Discover the Wilyabrup Valley Cliffs

One of Margaret River's best kept secrets.