Yay! The Great Southern region reaches milestone 50 years!
As the Great Southern Region of WA celebrates 50th years I can’t help but reflect on Galafrey (and mine) on journey within the region.
In 1965 the first commercial vines were planted in Mt Barker. Forrest Hill was the first with a trial plot with the Agriculture Department, followed by Plantagenet Wines in 1968. It was then a decade later in 1976 when Goundrey wines planted their vines and was then followed by Galafrey Wines in 1977, established by my parents, Ian and Linda Tyrer.
My Parents gave up their jobs in the then emerging computer industry to lead a life in rural WA. Not wanting to be farmers they look at other industries which included the new and emerging wine industry. There was a lot of research into wine industry done by the Agriculture Department. The local apple industry had fallen over with the decline in prices in export and new industries needed to be explored. There were two main documents commissioned by the Department which influenced many growers. One by Professor Harold Olmo 1955 and another by Dr Gladstone in 1963.
My parent’s strong ideals to move to the country were driven by a personal one- to raise their children. Hence I was born in 1978. I have many memories and treasured stories growing up at Galafrey wines. My mother had a Mary Poppins style pram which she pushed along in the bare paddock planting the vineyard. I was on one side of the pram the cuttings on the other side. Most of my child hood involved hanging out with mum in the vineyard.
As I got older, and the vineyard got older, the jobs changed. I was hand picking grapes before you knew it. As I grew into my teenage years I would argue bitterly with my father and protest not to do it. To this day hand picking grapes is my least favourite job.
In 2003 we lost my dad Ian Tyrer to cancer. A short battle saw the shock loss of one of the industries great characters. A red beard, cheeky humour and a big belly laugh. Known for his strength, resilience and hard work. Linda and Ian built Galafrey from the ground up with no external income, extremely hard work and a boat load of passion. To this day I look out at the vineyard and the thousands of jarrah posts that my father hand spilt and put in by himself. We have been unbelievably resilient in difficult times both personally and professionally.
And now my Husband Nigel Rowe (who has a background in agriculture and tends to our vineyard among other things) and I are the second generation winemakers here at Galafrey. Linda still has a hands on role, her experience is invaluable and history remarkable. As a family we work together, we work hard and we are very proud of how far we have come.
I am very excited for the next 50 years here at Galafrey and the Great Southern Region.
CEO & Winemaker.