The Abercrombie vineyard was one of the first to be planted with Cabernet Sauvignon in the Great Southern. Established in 1975, the fruit from this vineyard has contributed to our Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon since its inaugural creation in 1986. Throughout its life, this iconic Mount Barker property has endured multiple changes of hands - originally named the Hay River vineyard, the Dennis vineyard, & now the Abercrombie vineyard after it was purchased by the Burch family for Howard Park in 2004.

With its gentle slopes, northerly aspect & gravelly soils, the Abercrombie vineyard holds some of the oldest vines of the Mount Barker area. Initially somewhat of an experiment, the Cabernet harvested here always showed promise & the capacity to cellar, producing wine that was typically formidable in its youth, softening with elegance over time. The fruit from the ‘Abercrombie’ vineyard was an essential inclusion in Howard Park’s Icon Cabernet from the very beginning – the backbone of the wine.

The vineyard was initially identified as suitable for Bordeaux-style Cabernet in the 1970s, under the advice and guidance of Bill Jamieson, a viticultural pioneer of the Great Southern region. A construction cutting in the hillside of the vineyard (then farmland) revealed the ideal soil profile for Bordeaux-style Cabernet – two metres of red loam above layers of gravel and then clay.

From 1986, when winemaker John Wade purchased his first parcels of Cabernet from the Dennis Vineyard for the fledgling Howard Park label, this rare and special site provided the foundation upon which the tradition of Abercrombie has been built. After carefully tending and improving these vines for over 20 years, Howard Park purchased the vineyard from the Dennis family in 2014.

The Abercrombie vineyard is relatively tiny at only 15 hectares with 10 hectares under vine. 7 hectares are planted with the original Houghton Massale Section clone, in 1975, the remaining 3 hectares have been planted with Chardonnay between the years 2008 – 2016; clone 110V5 & 95.

The name ‘Abercrombie’ comes from Jeff Burch’s great-grandfather Walter Abercrombie.

Technical Information

  • Mount Barker, Great Southern
  • Cool continental
  • 780mm per annum
  • 85 - 95 m
  • Gravelly loams over clay