GALAFREY WINES CELEBRATES 40 YEARS
It’s been a long road with lots of ups and downs. None more so than the last 15 years.
In 1976 Ian and Linda Tyrer left their high-profile jobs in the computer industry and searched for a country lifestyle in rural WA. With the new an emerging wine industry in WA Ian and Linda started to do their homework. They searched high and low for the right property with the right aspects before they found this one where Galafrey is established. Of course, these days you would pick a high tourism route with a highway out the front!
In those days, it was totally about the viticulture. After all “Galafrey Wines philosophy is to strive for excellence in producing small parcels of distinctive and consistently exceptional wines through commitment to producing fruit of the highest quality which they believe is the key to great winemaking.” Maybe a little cliché in this hipster world we now live in. The fact is we do have an excellent vineyard and due to it’s being set up properly in the first place we are able to use minimal input and are very sustainable.
Ian and Linda planted Chardonnay, Muller Thurgau, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and notably one of the first to plant Pinot Noir in WA. Of course, the first year they moved to Mt Barker coincided with Cyclone Alby. The devastation was a welcoming to a rural lifestyle at the beckoning call of nature and the weather.
1980 was Galafrey’s first vintage and the wine was made at Alkoomi. In 1982 we moved to Plantaganet Wines and in 1983 we started making our own wines in a converted shearing shed. In 1984 we moved to Albany and took up residence in the old wool stall at the bottom of York Street. An urban winery before its time. In 1992 we moved back here to Mt Barker to a purpose built winery.
In 1987 we won our first major trophy for our 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon for Best Cabernet in Wine Show of WA. In 1991 we won a trophy at the Sydney International Top 100 for our Riesling and in 1994 trophy for Top WA Riesling at the SGIO Awards. There have been various Gold medals and awards over the years, too many to mention them all.
Lows have been the hail storm in 1989 which wiped out one third of our vineyard, notably our Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon, which took 3 years to recover. The vineyard looked like it had been shredded and the boundary fence a green hedge of destroyed foliage. While no damage to the vineyard it snowed 1992, a truly unique weather event. 2005 Vintage saw 7 inches of rain dropped in 8 hrs. All our reds were yet to be picked as no machinery could access the vineyard because of the mud and it began a race against the birds.
But of course, the biggest low was the loss of Ian Tyrer in 2003 to cancer. Many rumours began and people began to question the future of Galafrey without Ian. Not only did we have a steep learning curve but it was a difficult time both personally and professional. However Ian’s wife and daughter, Linda and Kim, carried on. In 2011 saw Kim Tyrer as CEO & Winemaker pushing forward the family brand Galafrey Wines. Equally Kim’s husband Nigel Rowe works in the vineyard and winery as do their own young children and so the family business cycle begins again.
It has been an incredible journey. Building Galafrey Wines quite literally from the ground up and now looking forward to the next 40 years. Galafrey Wines is very much the centre of our lives, family and lifestyle and continues to bring us much pride and joy…..even on the hard days!
CEO & Winemaker
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