The name Willespie, blends the region Wilyabrup and the French word espérer meaning ‘to hope’.
Willespie Wines began its journey in 1976, when school teachers Kevin and Marian Squance and their four children, planted 3.9 hectares of Verdelho, Semillon, Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Now Willespie consists of 32 acres of plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Verdelho, Chardonnay and Riesling. The vineyard is dry grown and celebrating 40 years since the first plantings.
Now, forty years and many accolades later, the vineyard has gracefully grown in size along with the four Squance children – Trish, Jenni, Michele and Darren. Along with their own families, they have now taken over the reins to this unique piece of land in the Margaret River wine region.
Located on Harmans Mill Road, Wilyabrup, Willespie sits in a beautiful and prestigious part of Margaret River in the Wilyabrup sub-region. The region has a strong maritime climate with the influence from the Indian and Southern Oceans giving rise to the finest fruit which has optimal flavour and intensity reflective of the unique ‘terroir’ or sense of place.
Nestled amongst the picturesque setting of expansive vineyards across rolling hills, and natural bushland, Willespie would surely be one of Wilyabrup’s finest wine producing Estates in the region. The Cellar Door is constructed from stone and timber from the property and situated amongst the Jarrah and Marri forest.
Willespie produce wines that reflect the vineyard’s terroir, the sunshine hours and the natural rainfall of the region.
Modern viticultural practices and minimalist winemaking intervention ensure that the wine in the bottle expresses the intense varietal fruit characteristics that combine to create Willespie premium wines.
The truly boutique wines of the family owned winery are distinctively Margaret River.
The wines produced at Willespie have collected many awards over the years, both in Australia and internationally.
E.g. Chardonnay: The higher natural acidity allows our winemaker to undertake a secondary malolactic fermentation that gives a luscious creamy texture while maintaining balanced levels of minerality.
Both properties were selected as being typical of French wine growing territory, with layered compositions of gravel, sand, loam and clay. This soil structure creates a unique microclimate for the vines with beneficial heat retention provided by the high gravel content near the surface. The gravel and sand subsoil ensures good drainage, while the high clay content enables good water retention throughout summer.
The Wilyabrup estate was established in 1976 with the purchase of 40 hectares on Harmans Mill Road, and subsequently planted with vines. Today, the Wilyabrup estate has 18 hectares under vine consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay and Verdelho.
All the vines on the estate are non-irrigated, relying on the typical two metres of annual rainfall to irrigate over the dry summers. The 40-year old dry grown vines are known to produce Willespie’s complex wines with qualities to allow aging.
The Dawson Gully estate at Kaloorup approximately10km from Wilyabrup was purchased in 1997 and was subsequently planted with Shiraz and Merlot. In 1998, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc were planted and today a total of seven hectares are under vine. All the vines on this estate are non-irrigated, relying on the annual rainfall to irrigate over the dry summers.