The European settlement of Peel dates back to 1829 when a visionary named Thomas Peel brought three ships of migrants from England for the Peel Settlement Scheme. Peel lies between the Swan District and Perth Hills to the north and Geographe to the south. The first vines were planted in the region in 1857.
However it was not until the 1970s that more significant developments have taken place in what has been a rapidly expanding area for numerous lifestyle activities. The first commercial vineyard was established with a planting of Shiraz by Will Nairn at the Peel Estate in 1974. While most other varieties have also now been established, Shiraz remains the flagship variety for the region. The Peel region has also recently become home to some of Western Australia’s premium local produce providers, a great combination with the great diversity of wines and a spectacular natural backdrop.
Peel is a region 40 minutes drive south of Perth, the capital of Western Australia.
The region is currently home to several wineries.
Modern day viticulture commenced in the mid 1970s.
Peel enjoys a Mediterranean climate with cool, wet winters and hot dry summers.
Cooling coastal breezes moderate climatic extremes.
Soils range from granite and gravel soils to limestone sands and fluvial sediments.
The region has also recently become home to some of Western Australia’s premium local produce providers.
Chenin Blanc was the first variety to be planted.
Shiraz is the flagship wine of the region.
This coastal region has a Mediterranean climate with cool, wet winters and hot dry summers. Sections of the region located inland and those at higher altitudes have stronger land breezes, higher rainfall and slightly lower temperatures. The region’s lakes and dams, as well as the Indian Ocean to the west, ensure a consistent supply of cooling summer sea breezes to maintain cool temperatures for optimum grape ripening.
The eastern extension of the Peel region includes very old granite and gravel soils. These soils are totally different to the limestone sands and fluvial sediments of the coastal area, which have significant ground-water reserves three to 15 metres (49 feet) below the surface.
Chenin Blanc: This was the first white grape to be planted in Peel. The wine is produced with or without oak and gains character and depth with short to medium-term cellaring.
Chardonnay: Planted in most of the localities throughout the region, this wine attests to the versatility of the variety. Character notes range from melon and stone fruit to rich and buttery.
Cabernet Sauvignon: Planted in many parts and producing a medium-bodied wine, Cabernet is slightly firmer when grown inland at higher elevations.
Shiraz: Not only the longest established in the region, the Shiraz is arguably the most successful variety, particularly around the Peel Estate. Overall, the style is medium-bodied with sweet, fine, ripe tannins.
Map Coordinates: 32°31'S
Altitude: 5-290 metres (16-951 feet)
Heat degree days, October - April: 2300-2350 (cut off at 19ºC (66.2ºF) but otherwise not adjusted
Growing season rainfall, October - April: 160-280 millimetres (6.2-11 inches)
Mean January temperature: 22-23°C (72-73°F)
Relative humidity, October - April, 3 pm: Average 49%
Harvest: Mid February - Mid March
Will Nairn, Proprietor, Peel Estate, Western Australia:
In 1973, Will Nairn decided to convert his Lucerne farm into a vineyard. At this stage there were very few vineyards, even in Margaret River, but with his passion for a great Shiraz, an ideal climate for growing grapes and soil to match, Will decided to take a chance.
“The limestone soils, which are consistent with the coastal area of the Peel region, produce grapes with naturally high acid, enabling greater ripening of grapes before harvest to produce rich fruit intense wines. The warm daytime temperatures with the cooling afternoon sea breeze ensure best climatic conditions for the varieties planted,” Will says.
“The Shiraz, Peel Estate’s flagship wine, is supple with small red berry fruits mixed with pepper and spice. Being quite consistent from year to year it is often at its peak at 12 years of age and beyond. Characteristic of the Shiraz from this region, there is also chalkiness on the palate which is attributed to the limestone soils. Other wines such as the wood-matured Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are also rated highly for their structure, fruit, complexity and ability to age gracefully for eight or more years.
“Another variety predicted to reach great heights in the Peel region is Verdelho, with Peel Estate's showing fantastic tropical fruit flavours and lovely fresh crisp acidity.”