Family-owned Howard Park Wines is growing its presence in the Margaret River wine region with the acquisition of two new vineyard sites, in addition to welcoming a new member to its experienced viticulture team.
To enable this period of growth for the winery, viticulturist Steve Kirby has joined the Howard Park Wines team as the Group Vineyard manager.
Kirby comes to the family winery after 11 years as the Margaret River Viticulturist at Brookland Valley Wines.
Steve’s career has taken him to many of the country’s finest vineyards, working in both regional Victoria and Tasmania, and has helped produce countless award-winning wines over the course of his career for producers like Bay of Fires, Hardys, Houghton and Brookland Valley.
He is drawn to the Margaret River’s ability to produce outstanding chardonnays and cabernets thanks to the abnormally long vintages from year to year.
And while Steve believes the region can make some of the finest wines in Australia, the South West is also home to some of the best native landscapes you will find anywhere in the world.
Over the years, Steve has contributed to wine industry research initiatives through both the Riverland and WA vine improvement committees. Much of Steve’s research has been focused on increasing the industry’s understanding of varietal mixes and clone selections in Australian vineyards.
“Vineyard management is combining all the things you can semi control and be ready when situations arise that you can’t control. Site selection, vine material, work programmes, machinery, and winemakers are all part of your day-to-day thoughts and then weather can come and change all your plans,” said Kirby.
“It’s never a dull more. moment in the agriculture game. But when it all comes together, and you can deliver fantastic fruit to the winery, it’s a great feeling.”
In addition to joining Howard Park Wines’ viticulture team, Kirby will also manage the family’s growing land holdings for vineyard expansion, including two new premium Chardonnay sites the family has recently acquired in the Margaret River region.
“As well as great Margaret River cabernet sauvignon, regionally expressive chardonnay has had a special place here at Howard Park. We are consistently inspired by how the variety can express the nuances of the South West region, enhanced by the great work of our brilliant winemaking team,” said Jeff Burch, owner and founder of Howard Park Wines.
“Our Allingham Chardonnay and Marchand & Burch Mount Barker Chardonnay are outstanding examples of what the region has to offer.
“With Steve joining our talented viticultural team and more of the Margaret River to work with, we are looking forward to sharing an exceptional taste of the region through these two terrific sites.”