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VINEYARD OF THE YEAR 2020
"The Swinney vineyard represents modern viticulture interwoven with Old-World techniques, executed with precision through a combination of exhaustive manual work and state-of-the-art technology, and all underpinned by an environmental focus...The scale of the vineyard, coupled with their pinpoint focus and pursuit of innovation, and the quality of the resulting wines, is truly extraordinary and inspiring."

Young Gun of Wine – Vineyard of the Year Awards

 

In March 2021, Swinney was awarded Young Gun of Wine’s inaugural ‘Vineyard of the Year’ trophy, after a six-month search that included multiple rounds of judging and site inspections of vineyards around Australia.

The award is testament to the extraordinary amount of hard work put in every year by our vineyard and winemaking team. It reflects our goal is to grow the highest quality grapes and to make wines that sit comfortably amongst the best of the world, while clearly speaking of our home in Frankland River.

“Swinney’s Vineyard of the Year award has been earned not just for the small run of exceptional wines the family have produced under their own eponymous label, but for the long list of wines made by an equally long list of eager clients that runs from industry heavy- weights including Penfolds and Hardys to cutting-edge small producers such as Brave New Wine and La Violetta.” Nick Ryan, The Australian

The full judging panel consisted of journalist Max Allen, Dr Mary Cole, Dr Peter Dry AM, Dr Mardi Longbottom, Dr Irina Santiago-Brown and Mark Walpole. They were supported by vineyard inspectors: Chris Penfold (SA), Colin Bell (WA), John Whiting (VIC), Kellie Graham (TAS) and Liz Riley (NSW/ACT).

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History

Ours is a story that began over one hundred years ago, when George ‘Farvie’ Swinney sailed from England and put down roots in Australia, eventually finding his dream property in ‘Franklands’.

A large grazing property on the banks of the River,  George and his beloved wife Mary made this place their home, setting the course for generations to come. And with each generation a new chapter begins. Because with every new custodian of his legacy comes a renewed ambition—to build on Farvie’s story and create something of lasting value.

We are a team of passionate wine growers and makers. Our combined skills and knowledge, gleaned here and abroad have brought us together to this perfect place, at the perfect time.

Fourth Generation Swinneys, siblings Matt and Janelle, grew up working alongside their parents and grandparents on the family farm at Franklands, gaining a deep respect for family, farming and the region. Growing and making is a way of life for the Swinney family, so it’s no surprise that even when they ventured further afield to other parts of the world for their respective careers, this special place was always going to draw them back. Today, Matt and Janelle have assembled a  uniquely skilled team and are focussed on producing wines that reflect their home and which, ultimately, redefine what is possible from the Frankland River region.  

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Vineyards

A remote and isolated region of Western Australia, Frankland River remains a secret to many. But for us, this unique part of the world is synonymous with family, farming, grape-growing and winemaking.

 

A land of broad skies, striking colours, and contrasting landscapes, the Frankland River region in the South West of Western Australia is one of the coolest and most remote wine-growing regions in Australia.

The Frankland River valley has a profound influence on the region’s climate and wine styles.  Draining more or less straight to the Southern Ocean, the river valley has excellent water and air drainage.

In summer, the valley funnels cool and humid air northwards from the Southern Ocean, moderating the heat of summer afternoons.  Cold nights and warm days, combined with a ripening that extends through March into April, create ideal conditions for growing quality wine grapes.

Over millions of years the Frankland River has cut its way through the ancient lateritic surface to expose the granitic and gneissic country rock beneath, creating gravelly loam soils.  The ironstone gravel provides strong root penetration and warms up quickly in the spring, while the clay loam subsoil retains water during dry summer months.  It is on these soils, upslope from the river, that we have planted our vineyards. 

"There is no question that this vineyard and the style being crafted under one of Australia’s finest winemakers, Rob Mann, have redefined syrah and grenache. These are now the established benchmarks and should be on the buy-now list for anyone with an interest in contemporary Australian wine.”

Ray Jordan, The West Australian, 2021

George John Alexander Swinney, affectionately known as Farvie, and his family settled at ‘Franklands’ in 1922. Today, George’s great grand-children, siblings Matt and Janelle, continue his legacy through their vineyards and wine label.

The Farvie wines, first released in March 2020 from the 2018 vintage, represent the highest quality expression of the Swinney family’s best vineyard sites. Our ambition is the creation of wines that effortlessly sit alongside the best in the world, with a particular focus on Syrah and Grenache, while evoking a beautiful and singular image of our family home in Frankland River.

The Farvie wines are the result of a vineyard–focused philosophy of meticulous attention to site selection and precise grape growing practices. These include dry growing, organic farming principles, intensive shoot and fruit thinning, and careful, deliberate bunch selection from fruit growing either on the morning side of the canopy or protected by shade cloth.

Production of the Farvie wines is limited to just a few hundred cases per year.

A great article on Farvie Wines - written by Nick Ryan in The Australian newspaper on 10th March - can be viewed here.

Other notable reviews of the Farvie wines include:

“The fruit, the whole fruit and almost nothing but the fruit. A really gorgeous wine that’s not like any other Grenache or Garnacha I have come across – presumably a terroir expression.”
18/20, Jancis Robinson,
www.jancisrobinson.com, Oct 2019

“A jaw-dropping, ground-breaking syrah. This is not the sweet fruit Aussie shiraz or syrah but more a savoury, grainy style more associated with the Rhone in France. Fine, firm tannins run deep and the oak has been expertly and subtly applied. But it is the way the fruit expresses that strikes as different and exciting.”
98 points, Ray Jordan,
The West Australian, Nov 2019

 

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Winemaking

At Swinney our ambition is the creation of wines that effortlessly sit alongside the best in the world, with a particular focus on Syrah and Grenache, while evoking a beautiful and singular image of our family home in Frankland River.

 

The secret of making great wine is great fruit – pure and simple.

We combine a deep understanding of our sites, and a long history of growing fruit in the region, with dry farming and organic practices, to produce fruit that speaks clearly and intensely of where its grown.

Our vineyards sit on ironstone gravel hill tops above the Frankland River and produce wines that have a distinctly ferrous character - a character we strongly associate with the highest quality Frankland River fruit.

Bush vine viticulture is a particular passion for us and, with the right site selection and varieties, produces some of the most site-specific fruit we have ever seen. Growing vines this way is labour intensive and requires a lot of dedication and patience. Everything must be done by hand, but the lower yield and greater effort is worth it. 

Our winemaking philosophy is simple—to reflect and preserve the personality of each individual vineyard site. To achieve this, we harvest by hand—often with multiple passes over the same vine—fruit and berry sort and co-ferment where possible. This attention to detail extends to the use of gravity flow to avoid pumping—maximising the percentage of whole berries and minimising maceration.  We use varying percentages of whole bunches as well as indigenous fermentation in oak vessels, to enhance the range of character, and our wines are matured in seasoned 500 and 600 L French oak vessels.

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Inside information

Frankland River is a quiet and remote place – that’s part of its unique charm. And while there are a number of cellar doors open to visit in the region, our small team are more likely to be found working in the vineyard. We don’t have a public tasting room just yet but are planning  to host annual tasting events in the future, so please join our mailing list to keep in touch.

 

A land of broad skies, striking colours, and contrasting landscapes, the Frankland River region in the South West of Western Australia is one of the coolest and most remote wine-growing regions in Australia.

The Frankland River valley has a profound influence on the region’s climate and wine styles.  Draining more or less straight to the Southern Ocean, the river valley has excellent water and air drainage.

In summer, the valley funnels cool and humid air northwards from the Southern Ocean, moderating the heat of summer afternoons.  Cold nights and warm days, combined with a ripening that extends through March into April, create ideal conditions for growing quality wine grapes.

Over millions of years the Frankland River has cut its way through the ancient lateritic surface to expose the granitic and gneissic country rock beneath, creating gravelly loam soils.  The ironstone gravel provides strong root penetration and warms up quickly in the spring, while the clay loam subsoil retains water during dry summer months.  It is on these soils, upslope from the river, that we have planted our vineyards. 

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Wine Moments

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 James Halliday, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  3 wines  from  Swinney . In a tasting of  23 wines 

Swinney Farvie Syrag 2019 / Bacon fat, maple, salted pomegranate, raspberry, graphite, red dirt, mulberry and pink peppercorn. Like the Hokusai wave, this crashes and courses with flavours and textures, ebbing and flowing on the palate. This is balanced, restrained, long, powerful and most importantly, shaped and structured by supple, chewy tannins. They hold the fruit in the cups of their hands and usher it through a very long finish. A weightlessly poetic wine. 98 pts - Exceptional

9m 5d ago

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