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Swan Valley - History

The Swan Valley has been making wine for over 180 years, the second oldest wine region in Australia.

1922 - The Baskerville area of the Swan Valley was subdivided for viticulture and the first vines were planted in 1923. The Baskerville region, west of Great Northern Highway, claimed as "The Pick Of The Famous Upper Swan" in 1922, as it truly is today.

Duncan Harris - owner and winemaker

Duncan's ancestors first came to Australia on the first fleet, landing in Sydney in 1788. They were an entrepreneurial lot, with one Francois Girard, owning the Sydney Hotel and another, Michael Hayes, Australia's first accountant, operating one of the first illegal distilleries in Australia in 1805. Duncan is a 7th generation Australian, who grew up in Tasmania's Tamar Valley, and came to Perth in the 1990s, eventually buying the property at Baskerville in 1998. While working full-time as an engineer, he spent every spare moment working to establish his winemaker’s dream of an organic vineyard and wine-making facilities at the Baskerville property. The winery cellar door opened in 2000.
In 2001 Duncan built an underground cellar in which to store and mature wines in a cooler environment without the need for artificial refrigeration.
In 2002 he built a tasting room cellar door, which is much more comfortable than the back of the old winery shed - although many of the long-time visitors miss the rustic surroundings.
In 2006 the business name became "Harris Organic Wines" as we became certified organic as he wanted to highlight the organic wines and the organics industry.

In 2007 Duncan reproduced The Handbook of Horticulture and Viticulture of Western Australia, a labour of love and tribute to its author Adrien d'Espeissis. The first sparkling wine that was made on the premises is named "Madeleine Claire" after his daughter, this traditional method is a vintage sparkling blanc de blanc.
As of 2010 the first Australian certified organic brandy became available from Harris Organic Wines.
In 2012 Harris Organic Wines launched its on-line wine shop, thanks to the help of his Organic Volunteer, Stuie from England.
February 2013 the first malbec wine was produced.
June 2015 the website was revamped into a responsive foundation theme as you see today, unfortunately without the help from Stuie.
May 2016 Duncan celebrated 10 years of organic certification of his vineyard and winery, the oldest plot of certified land in Perth.
October 2018 and 2019 Duncan named as "Organic Finalist of the Year"

Vineyard

We are great at what we do and that's why we are the best organic vineyard in Perth

First planted in 1999, the vines at Harris Organic Wines 5 acre vineyard are created by hand - from the first budburst of Spring to the final pruning in grey winter, the organic vineyard (where beautiful wine begins) is carefully tended by Duncan.

Because the Harris Organic vineyard is managed using organic principles of viticulture, no pesticides or herbicidal chemicals are used on or around the vines, nor are the vines artificially fertilised.

The vines are weeded uses a strip digger in spring to turn over the nitrogen-rich winter growth to become "green manure"; returning nutrients to the soil and encouraging earth worm and microbial activity.

Everything is done by hand at Harris Organic Wines, from pruning to most importantly, the picking of the fruit later in summer, this means there are no machine battered vines or wines at Harris Organic wines, you could say that we are happy producers of free range wines.

The vines are planted on rich duplex soils. They are not irrigated and therefore have to fend for themselves. Their roots are deep into the clay subsoil layers to extract the little water available during the summer months.

The vines are trained on VSP trellis, a 5 wire system to maintain the vine shoots are growing in a vertical position. VSP is a modern system where the canopy is kept thin to let in light and maintain air flow. Leaf, and soil analysis reports to us any elements that we need to amend so as to maintain optimal growing conditions.

The vines maintain a healthy canopy because of the above system, making it easy to summer prune and drive the tractor along the three metre wide rows.

The results are award winning wines with generosity of flavour and elegant palates.

  • Organic Vineyard History
  • Organic Wines
  • Organic Wine
  • Swan Valley History 1922

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