A ubiquitous treasure, Frankland Estate is a family owned and operated boutique winery, buried deep in the heart of Western Australia’s most isolated wine region. Located 250km east of Margaret River and inland from the wild and picturesque Great Southern coastline, Frankland Estate was established in 1988 by Barrie Smith and Judi Cullam. Today they are joined by their children Elizabeth and Hunter and a small, yet hardworking and enthusiastic team to produce high quality flavoursome wines.
Before founding the estate in 1988, Barrie and Judi embarked on a tour of French vineyards, inspired by their shared love of wine, where they worked two vintages at Bordeaux’s renowned Chateau Senejac, in the Haut-Medoc region. Armed with a wealth of knowledge & experience gained overseas, Barrie and Judi decided to diversify their farming interests and establish vineyards on Isolation Ridge, part of the farm where the Smith family have run a wool growing enterprise since 1974.
Frankland Estate has been established as the epitome of class, style, and fruitful simplicity.
The winemaking philosophies at Frankland Estate reflect these influences as well as the hard-earned lessons gained from 17 vintages in the Frankland River region.
Our approach to winemaking is built upon the principle that the most significant characteristics of a wine stem straight from the soil, as well as the environment of the vineyard in which it is cultivated. We produce unique and exceptional tastes, and wines that are a true reflection of their natural habitat, rather than the hand of the wine maker.
The pristine environment of Frankland Estate and the varying climates this region possesses, ensures that every style of wine is special and different reflecting the diversity of the environment.
At Frankland Estate we are committed to sustainable farming, organic viticulture, carefully nurturing the health of the soils in our vineyard, and only taking from our land as much as what can later be replaced by natural processes. Our appreciation for the environment in which we work ensures we continue to grow with our land in accordance to the cycles of nature.
Our passion for sustainable farming was recognized in 2009, when we were awarded an organic certification. Additionally, the use of our viticultural practices is strongly evident through the complexity, depth, and intensity of flavour within our unique wines.
Want to learn more about Frankland Estate? We welcome you to click through the links on the right and explore to your heart’s content.
The Frankland River Region
The discovery that the Frankland River region possessed an ideal climate to cultivate wine was first realised in 1956, by the renowned Californian viticulturist Dr Harold Olmo. Extraordinarily, Dr Olmo was in Western Australia to study the climatic limitations of the Swan Valley, when he noted that the climate in the Great Southern area of our state reflected that of Bordeaux in France, with cool summers that offer optimum ripening conditions for wine grapes. We believe our Olmo’s Reward is thus a fitting tribute; crafted from an elegant combination of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and petit verdot, this wine honours Olmo’s contribution to the region through flavours that echo vibrancy and complexity, with an eloquent finish.
Frankland River is the most isolated and cool-tempered wine region in Western Australia. For as long as it has remained, Frankland River has cut through the region’s ancient surface rocks to create gravel-loam soils of moderate fertility that are ideal for growing grapes. The river valley also has a crucial influence on the region’s climate. During winter and spring it sucks cold air down to the Southern Ocean (about 40km south of our vineyard), creating air-circulation between land and sea that minimises the danger of vine-damaging frosts. In the summertime it funnels cool and humid air north from the ocean, tempering the afternoon heat to provide a long, slow ripening period for grapes.
Our wonderful region remains almost completely free of pests and diseases. Its remote location, one that is far from an overcrowded population or industrial centres means that it is virtually pollution-free, and offers a pristine and organic grape-growing environment.
Like many other winemakers, we subscribe to the view that great wines are made in the vineyard, and not in the winery. In encompassing this belief we look to the soils in our vineyards to provide the foundation for healthy vines, intensely flavoured fruit, and wines that articulate the distinctive features of the environment in which they are grown.
Frankland Estate draws upon on two different sources of fruit for its wines. The fruit we use for our Isolation Ridge Vineyard range is cultivated in the evocative and appropriately named vineyard surrounding our winery. Sitting high on an ironstone ridge with ancient duplex soils of gravel and loam over a clay sub-soil, the first vines at Isolation Ridge were planted in 1988, from which the vineyard has since progressively expanded to its current 30-hectares. Our team at Frankland Estate, who both promote and endorse the use of organic, sustainable grape-growing principles, manages this vineyard.
For our single-vineyard Rieslings as well as our Rocky Gully range of wines, fruit is sourced from other growers within the Frankland River region, with whom we share our commitment to sustainable agriculture and healthy, delectable fruit.
Organic Grape-Growing Principles
Organic grape-growing principles prohibit the use of synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides and plant growth hormones. Instead, we at Frankland Estate rely on mid-row cultivation, as well as a range of composting and mulching techniques, to increase soil fertility and encourage bio-diversity within the vineyard.
Conversion to organic viticulture at Frankland Estate’s Isolation Ridge Vineyard began in 2005, and receiving full organic certification just in time for the 2010 harvest. Since then, all of the wines produced from Isolation Ridge carry full organic certification through Australian Certified Organics (ACO). This certification involves yearly audits and random sampling of produce to ensure our customers can have the peace of mind in knowing that the product they have purchased and received is a fully certified product.
Our decision to become a fully certified organic vineyard evolved as a natural progression from farming, with minimal inputs under a “sustainable farming practice” method. At Frankland Estate we truly value the importance of organic farming and agricultural sustainability, and believe that by practicing what we preach our vineyard will continue to produce good quality wines that we are proud of, while remaining in the best possible condition for future generations to come.
We welcome visitors, and would love for you to sample our wines whilst drinking in the visual charm of the Isolation Ridge vineyard. But a word of caution – as our name suggests, we are located a long way away from almost everything! Please allow at least 4 hours if you are driving from Perth.
- Take the Kwinana Freeway south from Perth.
- Leave the freeway at Armadale Road, and head east toward Armadale crossing over the South West Highway to join the Albany Highway that climbs up the Darling Ranges.
- Follow the Albany Highway, passing through Williams (Approx. 1.5 hours from Perth) and Kojonup (Approx. 2.5 hours from Perth). Some 17 kilometres south of Kojonup leave the Albany Highway and take Shamrock Road, heading westward toward Frankland.
- At Frankland (Approx. 3.5 hours from Perth) take the Frankland Road south toward Rocky Gully. The Frankland Estate winery lies off to the west of this road some 14 kilometres south of Frankland, and is well sign-posted.
Telephone in advance
As our isolated location ensures we do not have a regular stream of visitors to our cellar door, we always appreciate advance warning of any visit so we can guarantee that someone is on hand to look after you. Please ring (08) 9855 1544 if you are heading our way.
We are as global, as we are local
At Frankland Estate we evoke a unique style that’s characterising the progress of Australian wines on the international stage. To learn more about our international partners, visit our contact page.
Ph: +61 (0)8 9855 1544
Fx: +61 (0)8 9855 1549
Barrie Smith and Judi Cullam
Barrie Smith and Judi Cullam co-founded Frankland Estate in 1988, after deciding to diversify their long established wool-growing interests in the Frankland River region. Barrie’s unparalleled experience in production is owed to being raised in a wine-producing region, as well as to over 30 years of farming. He is renowned for his intimate knowledge and deep respect for the land, and for his firm belief in the winemaking potential of the Isolation Ridge vineyard.
Judi has been integral to the success and growth of Frankland Estate within Australia, and diversifying into major export markets due to her strong interest in dynamic marketing strategies and a deep passion for wine.
Hunter received a Bachelor of Business (Agricultural Management) degree from Marcus Oldham College in Victoria. He became a full-time member of the Frankland Estate team in 1999, and is now applying his breadth of knowledge to every aspect of winery operations, including finance and marketing.
Brian grew up in Perth and has a background in Biology, along with a postgraduate degree in Viticulture and Oenology from Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. His interest in winemaking developed during a holiday while working at Majestic Wine in London, before continuing to travel and complete vintages in different wine regions across the globe. In 2003 Brian completed two vintages: one in Frankland River, and the other in the Russian River, a sub-region of the Sonoma Valley in California. In 2005 he went on to complete another vintage in the Rias Baixas wine region in northwest Spain, where they specialized in Albarinho, a wine with similar characteristics to Riesling. After 6 years of wine making Brian settled in Frankland, joining the family business at Frankland Estate and is thriving in his new position.
Elizabeth attended the University of Western Australia and graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Agriculture Science in 1998, before furthering her studies in viticulture at Charles Sturt University. Elizabeth was lucky to gain further experience by working vintages in the wine regions of California, Spain, and New Zealand. She now channels her vast experience into nurturing young wines, and cherishing her young children.
Although Gladys isn’t exactly human, she still remains a vital member of our management team and family. As queen of our flock of guinea fowl, Gladys leads her loyal subjects out into the vineyard every day to eat bugs and pests that otherwise might damage our vines. She is sensitive, caring, and like all of us at Frankland Estate, is strongly committed to organic viticulture.