Willunga 100 was established in 2005 by winemakers Mike Farmilo and Tim James, both with extensive experience within the Australian wine industry. Mike has worked for many outfits over his 40 years as a winemaker, including for ‘Penfolds’, ‘Wynns Coonawarra Estate’, ‘Angoves’ and ‘Lindemans’, he is now a much-sought-after independent winemaking consultant. Tim is a well-respected winemaker and wine judge, and has served as Director of the ‘Australian Wine Research Institute’ for many years. In 2005, Mike and Tim explored McLaren Vale vineyards and came across a plot of 50-year-old Grenache vines. Adapted for blending as grenache saw little demand in single-varietal bottles back then. Realising this would be a shame, they decided to do something about it. The combination of old vines and ancient soils meant there would be low yields of fruit, thus concentrating the flavours within. The name ‘Willunga 100’ comes from the administrative area of Willunga which totalled 100 square miles, and it marks the area from which the fruit is sourced. As for the tree on the labels, it is ‘an old River Red Gum, which stands tall over the vineyards and was already over one hundred years of age when the first vines were planted in McLaren Vale in the 1840s.’ Despite their focus on full-bodied Grenache, Willunga 100 also offer a Shiraz, Shiraz/Viognier, Cabernet/Shiraz, Tempranillo and Grenache rosé, in a Premium and Willunga 100 range.
The ‘Willunga 100 McLaren Vale Shiraz Viognier’ is bright purple when young, with dark berries on the nose and palate, with fine tannins and a long finish. The ‘Tithing Grenache’ is their premium bottle, and it doesn’t disappoint, with oodles of dark fruit and savoury notes, and well-balanced acid and tannins that give the wine a luscious mouthfeel.