Steve and Helen Palmer have mature plantings of cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, shiraz, merlot, chardonnay and semillon, with smaller amounts of malbec and cabernet franc. Recent vintages have had major success in WA and national wine shows. -JAMES HALLIDAY
Established by Stephen and Helen Palmer in 1977 as one of the pioneer vineyards in the Margaret River region of Western Australia. The initial planting on the banks of the fertile Wilyabrup River included Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
With 50ha in Wilyabrup It all started to fall into place when Palmer’s 1999 Shiraz was judged the best WA wine and best WA dry table wine at the 2000 Perth Wine Show. That year their 1999 merlot also won a gold medal. Their wines soon chalked up awards on a regular basis and continue to do so under current winemaker Mark Warren. And the pleasing thing for the Palmers is that they have a strong stable of award-winning wines, for such a small producer.
While chardonnay figures prominently among them, their Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Krackerjack Cabernet Shiraz, Shiraz and Merlot have won gold, while their 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon won a silver medal at the prestigious London International Wine Challenge. Their rose is also proving popular.
But wine alone doesn’t make Palmers. Their Tuscan-style restaurant, which is designed also for alfresco dining, is one of the eye-catching eating establishments in the Margaret River wine region. Palmer held WA heats of the Miss Universe contest last year and was the hub of this year’s Margaret River Wine Festival. Both were outstanding successes.
One thing about the Palmers, they aren’t content to just watch the vines grow under them, so to speak. They have just established a new cellar door adjacent to the restaurant, where it was previously housed. This has created yet another quality facility at Palmer and created more room in the restaurant for diners. It also has its own unique characteristics, with its stone-look, barn appearance.