You simply cannot visit Margaret River wine region without spending an afternoon at Moss Wood Wines. Located in the northern sub-region of Wilyabrup, Western Australia, the Australian winery is widely regarded as one of the best estates in the region.
Moss Wood- Then and Now
The Moss Wood estate was established in 1969, making it the second commercial vineyard in the area. The first vines were planted by obstetrician Dr Bill Pannell and his wife Sandra. The Pannells picked, pressed and bottled the early harvests by hand. The 1975 vintage was a major success. Bill later described the 1975 Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon, as “a little miracle”.
In 1984, the Mugford family leased the Moss Wood vineyard and winery and became managing partners of the then 20-acre vineyard (on 80 acres of land) and small winery producing 3,000 cases of wine annually. In 1985, the Mugfords assumed full ownership.
Clare & Keith Mugford, as winemakers, viticulturalists & proprietors of Moss Wood, have been making wine & tending the vineyard since 1984 & 1979, respectively.
Their exacting viticulture ensures the production of grapes of excellent quality & they have created a stable of fine wines distinguished by their consistency over each vintage & their ability to age superbly. Clare and Keith believe that all decisions made in the vineyard, or at the winery, are based on the effect they will have on the quality of the wine. The winemakers put significant effort into developing an appropriate style for each of the varieties but the Cabernet Sauvignon, being the first wine, was the primary focus at the time.
Viticulture & Winemaking
Margaret River is on the south-western tip of the Australian continent at latitude 33° 78’ degrees south. It has a maritime climate and avoids both summer and winter extremes. The ocean also benefits the area as the consistent summer sea breeze maintains relatively high humidity.
As a new wine-producing area, Margaret River has a short viticultural history, therefore winemakers need to be continually reassessing their soil management practices and the performance of their vines. The winery believes that wine quality is determined in the vineyard, therefore, viticultural techniques are constantly reassessed. This has seen trials and improvements in trellising systems, soil conservation practices and pruning practices.