Willunga 100

South Australia, Australia

Willunga 100 has focused on premium Grenache since its first vintage in 2005. It was the sensitivity to site that Grenache displays in McLaren Vale, that attracted owners David Gleave MW and John Ratcliffe during their first recce to the region. They became determined to showcase the old vine Grenache they came across in vineyard after vineyard, particularly at a time when few took this grape seriously.

Since 2015, Willunga 100 has made two single-vineyard wines, one from Sue Trott’s 80-year-old vineyard in Blewitt Springs and the other from Bernard and Wayne Smart’s century-old vineyard in Clarendon. The same winemaking techniques are used for both wines, involving whole bunch fermentation, ageing on lees in stainless steel for 12 months before bottling and no oak ageing. Compared to Blewitt Springs, Clarendon has a higher elevation and more of a continental climate, with warmer daytime temperatures and cool nights. Bright, floral and perfumed on the nose with red berry fruits, this expression demonstrates the elegance of McLaren Vale Grenache. The vines in Blewitt Springs are planted on ancient sandy soils with an underlying clay and ironstone base. Warm sunny days and moderating sea breezes characterise the climate in this sub-region. The resulting wine has lovely dark cherry aromas on the nose, with richness and roundness on the palate.

From the 2021 vintage the name of each vineyard, brought to life by original winemaker Skye Salter, is acknowledged on the label of these two wines. The 2021 ‘Smart’ won the Grenache trophy at Australia’s National Wine Show in 2023. This is the second time a Willunga Grenache has been honoured with a trophy at the show, as in 2017 the 2015 ‘Trott’ took home Best Alternative Variety. In late 2022 Renae Hirsch took over in the winery. A highly accomplished winemaker, she brings a wealth of experience and a passion for McLaren Vale Grenache.

Willunga 100 purchased the ‘Blind Spot’ vineyard in 2019. This 19-hectare site, in the heart of Blewitt Springs on Maslin sands, has close to eight hectares of old, bush-trained Grenache situated on Moritz Road, within the ‘Hundred of Willunga’. This is the source of Willunga 100’s Grenache and Grenache Rosé, both of which are single vineyard wines. The former has about 15% whole bunch in 2021 vintage, which lifts the naturally aromatic fruit of Grenache grown on Maslin sand, while the latter is pale, dry and, as they say in Australia, ‘smashable’.