We are fortunate in that our beautiful Willyabrup vineyard is located in what is widely regarded as amongst the finest wine grape growing terrain in the world. Located in the heart of Western Australia’s renowned Margaret River wine region, this far-flung locality has a viticultural pedigree second to none.
The district is situated in the continent's deep southwest, a relatively young region unsullied by the impact of human population and development. Fresh air, clean seas, unspoiled country and fruitful earth have been simple, priceless qualities here for millennia.
Surrounded by open water on three sides between capes Leeuwin and Naturaliste, the wine region is almost completely free of pollutants and contaminants. Year-round it is swept by pure, cool sea breezes, blowing in off the Indian and Southern Oceans. Mild, wet winters and sun-splashed summer seasons add to the viticultural equation.
Couple this with soils ideally suited to the needs of classic varietal grapevines and we find ourselves in a viticultural paradise. Amid this marvellous terroir sits Pierro Margaret River Vineyards.
Willyabrup, Margaret River, Western Australia
Mike was anything but conventional when it came to establishing Pierro. In fact, in many areas of the vineyard he went completely against the customary methodology.
Pierro was the original high-density vineyard planting in Margaret River and also one of the first in Australia. Vine density ranges from 4,000 to 5,500 vines per hectare, compared to a conventional Australian vineyard of 1,900 per hectare. This was to make the vines more competitive, balance their fruit yield and promote flavour intensity.
The soils are moderately deep laterite gravel with interspersed granite, over ancient base rock with friable pink clay merging into a shattered rock layer. These granite soils are some of the most open, warm and well drained of our viticultural soils, allowing great root penetration and exploration.
Soil, aspect, and a high number of vines per hectare are the critical factors for achieving quality and balance in the vineyard...
The vines all face the sun on the mid- to low slopes of the rolling gravelly loam hills formed by the dissecting creek system. The vineyards are managed to maximise fruit, leaf and cane exposure to sunlight; minimise wind damage in the often blustery southern spring; and to heighten flavour development in the summer ripening period.
Pierro came about through a touch of serendipity and the passion and beliefs of Dr. Michael Peterkin
Proprietor, Winemaker &Vigneron
Dr Michael Peterkin
The winery and winemaker are inextricably linked to the relatively short but remarkable history of Margaret River wine and today form an integral part of that narrative.
A medical practitioner as well as a fully qualified viticulturalist and winemaker, Mike juggled the two demanding vocations for 25 years. Only recently did he finish up with his duties as a country doctor to devote his energies full-time to perfecting his wines. Yet in some ways it was the a mixture of the two callings that lead to the birth of Pierro, which today is among the most acclaimed small wineries in Australia.
After graduation in medicine from the University of Western Australia in 1973 at the age of 24, Mike Peterkin decided that his love of wine and winemaking could not be ignored any longer. As if a degree in medicine wasn't enough, he attended South Australia's respected Roseworthy Agricultural College in 1976 and 1977 and gained a Diploma in Oenology.
From 1978 to 1981, he made wines at Enterprise Wines at Clare, Cullen Wines at Margaret River and Alkoomi in Western Australia's great southern region. But he had not forsaken medicine and in 1982 completed a postgraduate degree in obstetrics, gynecology and postgraduate work in anaesthetics.
Through it all he harboured a deep desire to one day produce fine wines from his own vineyard be that where it may. Margaret River was a particular interest due to some very promising wines starting to emerge from this little-known south-west corner of his home state.
"The intensity of this super chardonnay was evident the moment I screwed the top off. Wow. This captures so much of the character of this excellent, small Margaret River vintage. It’s delicate, yet it has so much power driving through the palate. Butterscotch and white peach with an edge of nectarine work in harmony. The oak treatment is excellent, providing such control. Mike Peterkin has been making great chardonnay for years, but this one might just be the best yet.”
In the words of Jeremy Oliver one of Australia's most highly respected wine writers:
"Pierro is one of the few Australian wineries that could claim to have established a trend that many others have followed. Since the mid-1980s Mike Peterkin has crafted a chardonnay of not only monumental power, but of simultaneously smooth and silky delivery. Pierro Chardonnay is the role model for so many of Australia's more opulent and hedonistically proportioned chardonnays and is a stunning expression of Margaret River chardonnay."