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 Harman’s 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 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.