The History of the Winery

The History


In 1993 James and Lynnette Moray bought 23 acres of land north east of Tenterfield, with the view to living out of town. The urge to grow something took over and after great deliberation and much advice from Angelo Puglesi and others, wine grapes were chosen.

The History of New England known mainly for it’s Beef and Wool production, this might have seemed an outlandish idea. But with the unstable nature of local Markets, the large number of well established beef & wool producers in the region and a somewhat poor return to these same products; the Morley’s were looking for something with a brighter future. The fact that many of the old farmhouses had a grapevine in the house yard seemed to indicate that there was a chance.

Its true to say that Tenterfield may appear to be somewhat removed from the more familiar NSW wine growing region of the Hunter, but it’s the area’s vicinity & similarity to the Granite Belt Stanthorpe, Queensland’s wine growing area that sparked John & Lynne’s initial interest. Subsequent studies have shown that the Mean January Temperature (MJT) is not only similar to the Granite Belt, but to other areas like the Coonawarra and Great Western regions.

The planting of 3500 vines began in 1994 along with the trellising. All carried out with much physical assistance from relatives, friends and neighbours. The Morleys chose an equal mix of Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, again based on the advice of Angelo Puglesi. Ungrafted rootlings were chosen. Later, small quantities of grafted rootlings were used, as gap fillers were required.

With the sometimes unpredictable rainfall of the Tenterfield area and lack of running water the choice was made to drip irrigate the vines using a hillside dam. Combine this with the ability to Fertigate (the process of mixing fertilisers) inadvertently getting into waterways. The irrigation scheduling was implemented with the aid of a soil moisture monitoring system.

The History of Willowvale Wines

James & Lynnette faced many problems in the early years. But by 1998 the vineyard had turned the corner, and through out the next 12 months the vines were carefully watched. This was aided with the use of soil moisture monitoring, a weather station and AUSVIT decision-making software. With a record crop the hardest part must still be waiting for the Wine Maker, Sam Costanzo of Golden Grove in Ballandean to pass judgement on the crop and 1999 was certainly a winner.

This year has seen the construction of a new winery building at Willow Vale Winery. With their spare time Lynnette teaches break dancing and James is attempting a BappSc (wine) at University.

We see the history as an excellent time to buy our boutique wines and our online purchase system gives the opportunity to obtain award winning wines not easily found in your area. Our quality is assured and we know that you will not be disappointed with your purchase.