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50 Years of Margaret River Wine: Cullen Wines

In honour of the Margaret River wine region’s 50th birthday, we’re looking at some of the key founding wineries, all of which are still going strong today. In part 2 we look at Cullen Wines, a family owned and run business.

2017 is the year that one of Australia's leading wine regions turns 50. This is the Margaret River wine region. While only being 50 years old, and a small producer of Australian wine, the region accounts for 20% of the premium wine market.

In honour of this region's 50th birthday, we're looking at a few of the key founding wineries, all of which are still going strong today.

Cullen Wines

Alongside Vasse Felix, the name Cullen is important to Margaret River’s wine history. After a successful trial period in the late 1960s, acres of vines were planted in 1971 to establish the Cullen winery.

Another family owned and run business, Kevin and Diana Cullen established the winery, with Diana Cullen becoming Chief Winemaker in 1981. She was the pioneer of the use of oak in white wine production in Western Australia, and in 1999 was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia for services to Viticulture and Wine. She has even had lunch with the Queen. Today it is owned by the couple’s six children, with one of their daughters, Vanya Cullen as Chief Winemaker and Managing Director.

If you are interested in organic farming practices, then Cullen is the winery to look at.

They have practiced organic farming for many years, being classified as a certified ‘Biodynamic Winery’ in 2004. They even harvest their wines in accordance with the ‘Biodynamic calendar’. (If you’re scratching your head as to what this means, take a look here.) They are also the first Australian Winery to be Carbon Neutral, offsetting their carbon dioxide emissions under the Carbon Neutral program.

These practices are showcased in their 2013-14 Kevin John Legacy Series Chardonnay and 2012 Vanya Cabernet Sauvignon. At $250 and $350 per bottle respectively, one would hope it is amazing stuff!

They produce quite a few varieties to choose from – but if you're not sure where to start, they're most renowned for their namesake wines, the Diana Madeline Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot and the Kevin John Chardonnay. But if these are a bit above your typical price range, then try something from their Mangan Vineyard (planted in 1995) range. You’ll still benefit from the biodynamic farming practices, but don’t have to pay so much for it!

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