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Dark Horse Winery Arlewood Estate

Publish Date: 26 Oct 2016

Authored by: Amelia Ball

We find out the story behind Margaret River winery Arlewood Estate. The vineyard has a history dating back to 1988, but it’s only under Garry Gosatti’s watchful eye that the site has really begun to bloom.

It’s an age-old cliche, but when it comes to Margaret River’s Arlewood Estate, it really has been a labour of love. As owner Garry Gosatti says of his southern Margaret River site, “Some people renovate houses, I renovated a vineyard.” Garry bought the original Arlewood vineyard in Margaret River’s Wilyaburup in 1999, but he’d had his eye on the Forest Grove subregion for a long time. So when the opportunity arose to buy there in 2007, Garry jumped at it – and set about revitalising the site, which had virtually been abandoned. “I pulled out every post and retrellised the lot. I went about reworking the vine structure, went from double to single cordons and back to cane, but the base material was very good. It had a good foundation.”

The big move

After buying the Forest Grove vineyard, rather than start again with a new name, Garry stuck with Arlewood. “There was an emotional attachment to the name because I’d invested eight years into it and it had been an established brand from a real story. It was about the name, not the wine,” Garry says. As for the decision to move sites, he had long admired the quality of Forest Grove’s fruit since first seeing fellow Matilda Bay founder Phil Sexton establish Devil’s Lair in the area. “I love the fruit style that comes from here. It’s less robust, more delicate and a style I enjoy expressing.”

The wines

If the name Stuart Pym sounds familiar, it should – he won Best New Winery of 2015 for his own Margaret River operation, Flowstone, and also makes Arlewood’s wines under contract. “The wines all come from Garry’s own vineyard, so that initially sets the style and direction,” Stuart says of the range. “They’re brightly expressive wines, but with palate weight and texture.” Stuart concedes the win is all for Garry, who makes the general winemaking decisions. The wines are all now estate-grown, including a barrel-fermented sauvignon blanc semillon and two field blends.

The win and beyond

For someone who’s been in the industry for so long, this is no overnight success. “I feel slightly awkward,” Garry says of the win. “You just do these things because you have an enthusiasm to do it and a desire to do it well.” Garry says he wants to keep making wines that reflect his treasured site. “We’re making wines that display finesse and complexity with delicate nuances. I just want to make wines I enjoy drinking and sharing.”

What James says...

Arlewood Estate dates back to 1988 and is located in the south of Margaret River, not the centre. It went through several ownership changes and is now owned and run by Garry Gosatti, who spent 2008–12 living on what was a very rundown vineyard. It was a hands-on, near full-time (one day per week in Perth) job. Now the vineyard is as he wanted it to be.

Read more from James on Arlewood Estate as well as nine other wineries to put on your radar.

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