GALAFREY WINES HISTORY part 1
Like most family businesses Galafrey Wines started as a love story.
Linda met Ian Tyrer in London in the 70s. Both from Australia, they were travelling the world and working in London in the new and emerging computer Industry. But once they had met and fallen in love talk began of settling down, getting married and having a family. Both had a desire to return to Australia and live in the rural area of WA where they could have a lifestyle that was better suited for children.
Neither came from a farming family nor did they wish to become farmers so they began researching how they'd make a living of the land. Using the research from the Ag Dept, and WA viticulture pioneers John Gladstone and Bill Jamieson, the couple spent hours pouring over maps of WA which they believed defined the most suitable areas for viticulture
Research papers compiled by the CSIRO, AgWA and Agriculture Victoria were absorbed, followed by lengthy discussions with leading Victorian wine makers and wine tasting classes. They confirmed their belief that quality production was what they wanted to concentrate on.
With Ian's brother, a geologist, Ian and Linda looked at various maps, visited many sites and dug holes on many properties before settling on their current property in Mount Barker. At the time there were only half a dozen vineyards in the area.
Ian and Linda invested all their money in a beautiful block with perfect depth of gravel to clay base, good aspect weather wise, even a bitumen road. The down side which did not show up later, was the lack of water catchment. In those days vineyards were not irrigated. Ian and Linda put in an irrigation system in the early 1980's when they found they did not have enough water. They just accepted that they would be a dry grown vineyard which turned out to be a better quality of fruit but unfortunately less volume.
Ian and Linda brought a 60ha block but have only retained 25ha with 12.5ha under vine. They planted Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and the unique variety of Muller Thurgau. Muller Thurgau is a hybrid of the Riesling variety and grows well in cool climate areas. Ian and Linda grew classic cool climate varieties with the philosophy of making straight traditional varieties reflecting the nature of the cool climate viticulture.
One year after they brought the block in Mount Barker Kim Tyrer was born.