The West

Wine royalty’s top rating for Willow Bridge
Wine royalty’s top rating for Willow Bridge

The success of a Ferguson Valley winery will shine a light on the region’s wine industry, opening up global markets for its producers, according to an industry body.

Willow Bridge Estate — which produced its first vintage in 2000 — was recognised as a five-star winery in this year’s James Halliday wine companion, released this month.

Local Wine Industry Association president Sue Ward said the honour would help showcase the quality wine produced in the Geographe Region.

‘‘Willow Bridge’s success will draw attention to the Geographe wine region from Australian and world wide wine consumers who use this book as their guide for buying wines in Australia,’’ she said.

Willow Bridge senior winemaker Simon Burnell said as far as he was aware, the five-star rating was a first for a winery in the Geographe region.

In addition to the five-star rating, Willow Bridge was named as one of 10 ‘‘dark horse’’ wineries to watch in 2013 — one of four in the South West.

Mr Burnell said the region was punching well above its weight in the wine stakes, producing just four per cent of Australia’s wine.

He said the recognition from James Halliday — widely regarded as ‘‘wine writing royalty’’ — was a huge boon for the region.

Willow Bridge was also recognised with two wines with a 96 rating or ‘‘really rock and roll wine’’, according to Mr Burnell, for its 2010 Winemaker’s Chardonnay and 2010 Black Dog Shiraz.

Its 2010 and 2011 shiraz, merlot, sauvingnon blanc semillion and solana tempranillo were also rated 94-95.

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