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Entopia Wines in the Swan Valley

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by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce (subscribe)
Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at:
Published June 21st 2016
The thinking persons' winery
All up and down the valley of the Swan River are tiny boutique wineries offering sublime wines in jewel-like settings.

One such is Entopia Wines owned and run by married couple Brian and Heather Hunt. Entopia is just off the Great Northern Highway, but once there you might be in Provence, for all the noise you can hear is the faint hush of a breeze and the occasional chirp of a bird.

Entopia Wines, Brian Hunt, Heather Hunt, Shiraz, Swan Valley Wines,
Entopia Wines in the Swan Valley (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

Brian is a retired town planner, which explains the name Entopia, town planning-speak for 'an achievable good thing'. It's both inspirational and actual.

When Brian and Heather bought the property in 1998 it was, to be polite, a 'fixer-upper'. The house was dilapidated, the ten acres filled with broken down fences, sheds, used tyres, corrugated iron past its best and so on.

Not a single vine, although there was, and is, an aged apricot tree, gnarled with age into a perfect corkscrew. This is now the vineyards' proud mascot - an example of what perseverance can achieve in survival to changing conditions.

Entopia Wines, Brian Hunt, Heather Hunt, Shiraz, Swan Valley Wines,
Brian Hunt of Entopia Wines (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

After cleaning up the Hunts first task was to plant the basis of the fruit stock that would form the backbone of the coming winery. This was, in 2000, some 1800 Shiraz vines, the following year 500 chardonnay and 1200 Cabernet Sauvignon.

The soil is rich and loamy, with a heavy yield of excellent fruit - some fifteen tonnes from the now roughly 3,500 vines.

Entopia Wines, Brian Hunt, Heather Hunt, Shiraz, Swan Valley Wines,
Entopia Wines in the Swan Valley (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

The first vintage was Shiraz in 2003, followed in quick succession by the others. After some experimentation with various styles and blends the Hunts settled on some Swan Valley classics - Chardonnay, Verdelho, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Port - red and white.

The wines are all very reasonably priced at roughly $20 a bottle (barring the presentation boxed Dynamic Dylan at $30). Dylan is a much-loved grand child, as is Georgia, for whom the Golden Georgia Verdelho Chardonnay is named.

Entopia Wines, Brian Hunt, Heather Hunt, Shiraz, Swan Valley Wines,
Entopia Wines in the Swan Valley (Photograph courtesy Entopia Wines)

They also produce some rather pleasant rosÚs which are currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity.

For me, one of the chief joys of touring cellars is that you get to meet and talk with the grape growers and wine makers and can learn the thinking behind the choices they make and discuss the wines with these, who know the wine so intimately and so passionately.

Brian and Heather are perfect examples of this, charming, knowledgeable, old-worlde polite and superb hosts.

The cellar door at Entopia is an octagonal building of considerable charm overlooking the ruler-straight lines of vines extending down towards the Swan River at the bottom of the property.

In addition there is a vast balcony on the house itself where Entopia hosts wine clubs, long lunches and the occasional art class.

My favourite of the Entopia wines was the Shiraz - earthy, warm, soft, enticing and forgiving. A lovely wine.

The wines are available from their website, but you'd much better visit and have a sample and a chat with two of the nicest vineyard owners in the Valley.

Very Highly Recommended Indeed.
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Why? Lovely light whites and complex reds
When: Saturday and Sunday 11m to 4pm Monday and Tuesday by appointment
Phone: 9296 0062
Where: 61 Memorial Avenue, Baskerville
Cost: Free tastings
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