This year we celebrate 20 years since the Fogarty family entered the world of wine as Millbrook Winery opened its doors to the public for the very first time. The winery certainly wasn’t always what we see today with a state-of-the-art winemaking facility, tasting room and restaurant but as the song goes ‘from little things, big things grow….’
With first ground broken in 1996 Peter & Lee Fogarty, together with their three children, planted the first vines for Millbrook on the historic Chestnut Farm – a true labour of love. By 1997 serious planting was underway with a focus on Shiraz and Viognier. Peter Fogarty, Chairman of the Fogarty Wine Group, has long admired the Northern Rhone style of Shiraz Viognier and set out to produce his own after finding it very difficult to source in his hometown of Perth, Western Australia.
Chestnut Farm provided Peter with precisely what was needed to start this project; terroir reminiscent of the high hills and altitude of Northern Rhone, combined with excellent top soil and clay, washed over coffee rock, gravel and granite. A river at the base of the property completed the setting, providing cool air to relieve the heat of a summer’s day.
The abundant water supply onsite, a mix of bountiful natural springs and dams, was another advantage of converting Chestnut Farm into a winery and vineyard. Throughout its time, Millbrook Winery has been in the very fortunate position of a plentiful water supply, not once running out.
In 2001, construction of the iconic Millbrook Winery was completed. It is now a stunning home to a modern winemaking facility, barrel halls, a tasting room and a restaurant. Local jarrah, marri, blackbutt and sheoak is featured throughout, a reference to Jarrahdale’s historic past at the heart of the Western Australian timber industry. The timeless Millbrook arches are crafted from granite rock, sourced from the Millbrook property. Incorporating both local stone and timbers, Millbrook showcases the natural beauty and products of the Perth Hills region.
Today Millbrook is the Perth Hills most awarded winery, but even in its infancy the wines produced impressed, receiving 14 trophies in its first four years. This was an encouraging start for the family and a strong bedrock to build on their legacy of producing ultra-premium wine.
The winery has been specially designed for small-batch, quality wine production and over the years has expanded to include alternative varietals including Fiano, Vermentino, Anais, Nebbiolo. The split-level construct is both compact and efficient, allowing the gravity transfer of juice and wine, and the winery’s temperature-controlled barrel halls mature the wines, in the finest French and American oak barrels, under optimum conditions.
With Millbrook Winery open and an immediate success, the family quickly recognised that greater opportunity lay ahead. In the years following, along came Lake’s Folly, Deep Woods Estate, Smithbrook Wines, Evans & Tate and Dalwhinnie Wines. The Fogarty Wine Group is extremely selective when adding wineries to the group banner, as the fundamental ethos of Fogarty is quality, from the vineyard to the finished bottle.
The Fogarty Wine Group consistently selects excellent sites, all beginning with a small venture in the Perth Hills called Millbrook Winery. We’re proud to be where we are today and excited to look to forward to where we’ll be in another 20 years.