• Producer Profile - Cullen

  • Producer Profile - Cullen

    Cullen are one of the pioneers of Margaret River winemaking and have always produced long-lived wines in a highly individual style from their mature, estate vineyards.

    The vineyards have progressed beyond organic to biodynamic certification and Cullen have also become the first vineyard and winery in Australia to be certified carbon neutral. Carbon neutrality requires the calculation of all the carbon used and CO2 emitted in the winery; the carbon is then offset by the planting of new trees. Winemaking is now in the hands of Vanya Cullen, the daughter of the founders, Kevin John and Diana Madeline Cullen, and is possessed with an extraordinarily good palate and generosity to the cause of fine wine.

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    - In 1947, Kevin moved to Busselton, WA to become the local doctor in the region. Diana joined as a physiotherapist soon after.Their family quickly grew with the addition of Rick, Shel, Stewart, Digby, Ariane and finally Vanya.

    - In 1971, the Cullens decided to plant vines on the land, having taken the advice of Dr John Gladstones and undertaken considerable research themselves on their overseas travels. Their first vintage was a mere2 barrels in 1974.

    - Diana honed her winemaking skills by reading, learning from others and from the extensive travel. Diana and Kevin were prolific travellers across Australia, the US and Europe, and in doing so we able to pickup tips and ideas from winemakers across the globe. Diana’s dedication paid off, continually winning awards and accolades for her outstanding wines, which cemented her place as chief winemaker in 1981.

    - Youngest daughter Vanya Cullen began winemaking at the Wilyabrup estate since 1983. She was appointed Chief Winemaker in 1989 and Managing Director in 1999.

    - In 1998 the change to total organic viticulture was made. Diana and Vanya moved intuitively towards healing the land and rejuvenating the soils. Soil health is paramount in organic viticulture – Extensive drain networks were put in place, cover crops were planted, and composting of excess biological matter resulted in an A Grade Organic Certification awarded by the Biological Farmers Association (BFA) ofAustralia in 2003.

    - Sadly, Kevin passed away in 1994 and Diana in 2003 leaving the estate to be jointly owned by the six Cullen siblings. Bothwere posthumously awarded life membership to the Margaret River Wine Industry Association. Cullen Wines have recognised Kevin and Diana’s pioneering contribution to the wine industry by naming their flagships in their honour – the Diana Madeline (Cabernet Sauvignon blend) and the Kevin John (Chardonnay), which both consistently receive some of the highest ratings in Australia, year after year.

    - Committed to biodynamic viticulture, Cullen Wines has evolved into an iconic winery that has always been focused on quality, integrity and sustainability at all levels of the business.

    In the Vineyard

    The soils at Cullen are old, granite and gravely sandy loam, overlaying lateritic subsoils. The vines are dry-farmed, helping to ensure maximum fruit quality, and pruned and harvested by hand. Low yields enable the flavours of the grapes to develop fully.

    Due to their higher vigour, the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, are on a Lyre trellis. This gives a greater area for the leaves and fruit to grow on, thereby enabling the fruit to reach full physiological ripeness. The Chardonnay is trained in vertical shoot positioned trellis as this variety seems to favour this training system best.

    The red grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc have been converted to Scott Henry trellising. This trellising system encourages ripe flavours and the development of higher-quality tannins in the fruit.

    In the Cellar

    At all steps of the process the wine (or wine to be) is treated with little or no intervention.This means indigenous yeast, no additions of any kind (apart from SO2), and minimal fining and filtering.

    The process of making the wine involves handling the fruit as little and as gently as possible. Practices such as hand-harvesting, gentle methods of transportation and sorting of the fruit before crushing are strictly adhered to. Further restraint is observed in the winery byrefraining from moving the wine once made,minimal fining utilised for the Whites, no fining for the Reds, and as little filtration as possible for both being employed. This helps to ensure that the wine, once in bottle, is a true expression of the fruit from which is it made.

    Cullen Wines are also experimenting with natura lwinemaking, letting the vineyard and winery work with nature rather than trying to control it. This method aims to extrudethe lands best and purest expression in the wines.

    Cullen Vineyards

    Cullen Vineyards and their proximity to the Indian Ocean.

    Cullen Estate Vineyard
    Planted: 1971, 1976, & 1988
    Area: 28 hectares (70 acres)
    Varieties Grown: Cabernet Sauvignon; Merlot; Cabernet Franc; Malbec; Chardonnay; Sauvignon Blanc; Semillon and Chenin Blanc.
    Dry farmed, A-grade Biodynamic certification with Biological Farmers Association (BFA) of Australia.

    Cullen Mangan Vineyard
    Planted: 1995 & 1997
    Area: 21 hectares (52 acres)
    Varieties Grown: Malbec; Merlot; Petit Verdot; Sauvignon Blanc; Semillon and Verdehlo.
    Dry farmed, A-grade Biodynamic certification with Biological Farmers Association (BFA) of Australia.

    The Wines of Cullen

    Diana Madeline Cabernet Merlot
    Variety: Varies due to vintage - 80-60% Cabernet Sauvignon & 20-40% Malbec
    Soil Type: Granite & Gravely Sandy Loam
    From Vines Planted: 1971
    Vintages to Look out for:
    2001 - 97 Points,
    2002 - 94 Points,
    2003 - 95 Points,
    2004 - 95 Points,
    2005 - 96 Points,
    2006 - 94 Points,
    2007 - 97 Points,
    2008 - 96 Points,
    2009 - 95 Points,
    2010 - 96 Points,
    2011 - 97 Points,
    2012 - 98 Points,
    2013 - 98 Points,
    2014 - 98 Points,
    2015 - 98 Points,
    2016 - 98 Points,
    2017 - 98 Points,
    2018-97 Points,

    Vanya Cabernet Sauvignon
    Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon
    Soil Type: Granite & Gravely Sandy Loam
    From Vines Planted: 1971
    Vintages to Look out for:
    2012 - 99 Points,
    2015 - 99 Points,
    2017 - 97 Points,

    Kevin John Chardonnay
    Variety: Chardonnay
    Soil Type: Granite & Gravely Sandy Loam
    From Vines Planted: 1976 &1988
    Vintages to Look out for:
    2006 - 97 Points,
    2007 - 97 Points,
    2008 - 97 Points,
    2009 - 97 Points,
    2010 - 97 Points,
    2011 - 97 Points,
    2012 - 98 Points,
    2013 - 96 Points,
    2014 - 96 Points,
    2015 - 97 Points,
    2016 - 96 Points,
    2017 - 97 Points,
    2018-97 Points,


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