REDGATE WINES IN PROFILE
After a fascinating stint as a World War II Lancaster bomber pilot over the skies of Europe, Bill Ullinger returned to Australia to pursue a career in engineering. Having founded, built and run a successful civil engineering company for some 20 years Bill’s itchy feet got the better of him and he decided to take the punt of growing grapes and making wines in the just emerging Margaret River wine region. In 1976 together with son Paul, Bill came to Margaret River, purchased a property from Johnny Walker (a local legend) and set about the task of planting out a vineyard and building a winery. The first vines were planted in 1977 and first wines were made in 1981. In 1982 Redgate was put onto the wine map by taking out the prestigious Montgomery Trophy at the Adelaide Wine show for best Cabernet at show. From that point onwards Redgate, under the careful eye of Bill and Paul, has grown into one of Australia’s premium boutique wineries with a reputation that has spread around the world.
The name Redgate has a history that should also be recorded. In keeping with Bill’s character, there was, a number of years ago, a property close by that had a reputation of producing very good moonshine. As the said property had a prominent red gate this became the byword for people in the know who wished to purchase the illicit produce. In recognition of the service that this farmer offered the community Bill named his property and wines after this infamous producer.
The first vines planted at Redgate were Cabernet Sauvignon. This has grown to include 55 acres under vine including varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Shiraz. The vineyard has been planted on a ridge of gravelly loam over clay and is located less than 3 km from the Indian Ocean both factors contribute to producing fruit packed full of subtle elegance. These days the vineyard is kept immaculately by our Vineyard Manager Brett Ganfield and his team and the fruit from our vines just keeps improving year after year.
The winery itself was completed in 1983, the first wines were made in a tin shed that is now a storage facility, and has a capacity of 200 tonnes although we often exceed that. Bill and Paul Ullinger made the first wines and in fact they made wines for a number of new brands in the early days including Chateau Xanadu. From the late 1980’s winemakers were employed allowing the Ullingers to concentrate more of their time in the business.