The Leston property is historic for Howard Park, being its very first vineyard, but also the home of all winemaking operations & the iconic cellar door. Its namesake was Jeff Burch’s father & mentor, Leston.
When first purchased, the undulating, partially-cleared property was an attractive but run-down sheep farm, with an old cottage & the Wilyabrup Creek meandering past.
Development began in 1995, with the first vines planted in 1996. The ambition was to maintain the aesthetics of the surrounding native Australian environment. Given Margaret River’s favourable growing conditions for Bordeaux varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Merlot, Semillon, Muscat & Petit Verdot were planted.
The Leston property is 138 hectares in size, 75 hectares of which is under vine – making it Howard Park’s largest vineyard. It showcases both vine and natural Australian bush land with the pristine waters of the Wilyabrup River gently meandering through the vineyard and native wetlands.
The beautiful site also houses our original & major rootling nursery. Given Western Australia’s viticultural history, the state has been lucky enough to have never suffered from phylloxera, but as a result strict custom controls mean that there is limited diversity in grape varieties. Our nursery gives us the opportunity to propagate our own rootlings from interstate or overseas, sometimes from bud.
The nursery allows us to diversify our clones & varieties for future plantings, but also to propagate rootlings from tried & true vine stock, such as our Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon, which is more than 40 years old. The nursery produces up to 40,000 rootlings per year and is currently planted with Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, & Pinot Noir clones from Burgundy.
Our compost program, which commenced in 2001 also finds home at our Leston vineyard. Annually we make 1200m³ of compost from grape marc, wood chips, manure & other organic ingredients to help renourish the soil. More information on this can be found in our Viticulture page.
- Wilyabrup, Margaret River
- Warm maritime, 10 km from Indian Ocean
- 1100mm per annum
- 90 - 118 m
- Soil types vary from gravely loams over clay along ridge tops to heavier textured and higher potential soils on lower ground.