Edwin & Esther Tomlinson and family circa 1880
Established in 1982 by Bruce and Jeanette Tomlinson, Lenton Brae Estate remains family owned and operated with son Edward the current winemaker.
Bruce Tomlinson, an Architect and town planner by profession was working on a sub-division of the Moss Wood Property when Bill Pannell, happened to comment on the virtue of the soil and site that had just been sub-divided.
The lure of owning vineyards and producing wines in Margaret River was too powerful for Bruce to ignore, and although originally planned as a sea change rather than a career move he quickly found himself immersed in the task.
The design and build of the winery in 1988 drew on passion and pride. Inspired by the catholic church in Margaret River. The 5 bells of Lenton Brae can be heard chiming on the quarter hour, a beautiful reminder of the tradition our family owned and operated winery holds dear. Behind the bells.
Rammed earth renowned for its strength, durability and eco friendly foot print with the added benefit of superior thermal mass proved to be the perfect fit as a building material. The barrel room, which lies directly beneath cellar sales, provides year round temperature control of our barrels and cellar stock, and can be toured during your next visit.
The estate was named Lenton Brae with “Lenton” coming from the chapel district of Lenton in Nottingham, England, from where the first Tomlinson’s (pictured below) migrated to Australia in 1882. “Brae” is a Scottish term for a small hill, which is a topographical feature of the Wilyabrup Vineyard.
Lenton Brae has always excelled in the Margaret River specialities of blended Semillon Sauvignon Blanc and varietals of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The first Cabernet Sauvignon was released in 1988, winning two trophies at the 1990 SGIO W.A winemakers’ exhibition, including Best Wine of Show. 30 years on and our wines continue to be reviewed frequently and favourably with a consistent 5 star rating from luminary James Halliday. We invite you to visit us and judge for yourself.
Bruce & Jeanette Tomlinson Celebrating early success of inaugural vintage 1987
The Naming of Lenton Brae
“Lenton” comes from the chapel district of Lenton in Nottingham, England. It is from here that the first Tomlinson’s migrated to Australia in 1882. “Brae” is a Scottish term for a small hill and a topographical feature of the Wilyabrup vineyard.
Lenton Brae Building & its Bells
Bruce designed and built the winery in 1988, which incorporates the cellar sales gallery that has sweeping views across the Wilyabrup valley. The building has since been recommended for heritage listing by the shire of Busselton. Bruce’s winery design incorporated two complementary towers giving the option to install bells in either tower. 5 bells were duly commissioned and foundered in Perth by local bell makers and positioned in the south bell tower adjacent to the Wilyabrup valley. Unfortunately over time the bells fell ‘off key’ and attempts to re-tune were problematic, the bells fell silent in 2006.
In 2014 youngest son Edward began the process of commissioning a new quintet of bells in his father’s memory. Design and casting was carried out by John Taylor & Co in Loughborough, Leicestershire, England who has cast Notable London Bells including “Great Paul” at St Paul’s Cathedral. The quintet, weigh in at over a tonne and the mammoth task of installing and tunning the bells was handed to Laith Reynolds and Rhys Greenhalgh from Swan Bells in Perth, who worked meticulously during the final stages of the commissioning.
Today the bells chime on the quarter hour with the well-known Westminster Chimes which people associate with Grandfather clocks and the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster in London commonly known as Big Ben. Rhys Greenhalgh has volunteered that our 5 bells sound as good as he has heard! We invite you to visit and be the judge.
EDWARD TOMLINSON / WINEMAKER / 27 VINTAGES AT LENTON BRAE
Edward first started travelling down to Lenton Brae on the weekends as a 15 year old and helped Bruce plant the vineyard in 1982.
He graduated with a degree in Applied Science (Oenology) from Roseworthy Agricultural college in 1992. After vintages in South Africa, California and New Zealand, Edward returned to his family’s vineyard in 1995 and has added northern hemisphere vintages in Spain, Bordeaux and Italy to his reume since.
His past wine judging experiences include regional and capital city wine shows, as well as chairing the Margaret River Show Committee.
His continuity at Lenton Brae affords a unique perspective to the strengths of their Wilyabrup vineyard.
“They’re all my favs”
Ed Tomlinson has introduced a contemporary style to maximise the exceptional mature fruit from the vineyard wine critic Ray Jordan, West Australian Wine Guide 2016
WINEMAKING & SUB REGIONS
The Lenton Brae vineyard is located on the northern slopes of the Wilyabrup Valley.
Wilyabrup was the chosen location for the first vines planted in Margaret River. Pioneers included Dr Tom Cullity, Dianna and Kevin Cullen and Bill Pannel. Today Wilyabrup is acknowledged as the epicentre for superior Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon and superb Chardonnay and Semillon.
The typical soil profile is gravelly loam of depth between 500 -800mm over a clay base. The gravel facilitates water drainage whilst not supporting excessive vigour. The clay base retains moisture and encourages root penetration.
The estate vineyard comprises some 8 hectares. Chardonnay (clones Gin Gin, P58, 76, 95 and 96) and Cabernet Sauvignon (Houghton clone) predominate with smaller parcels of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, and Merlot. Yields are typically low and average approximately 5 tonnes per HA for Chardonnay and Cabernet and 6-8 tonnes per Ha for Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.
The climate in Margaret River provides superior growing conditions that are seasonally consistent and best surmised as Mediterranean. The long-term average rainfall is 1125mm, although the average over the last 10 years has been closer to 800-900mm.
The rainfall is winter dominant, with approximately 80% falling between April and September. The prevailing dry conditions during the final fruit ripening period in early Autumn allow for low humidity and disease incidence.
Edwards wine making philosophy is to specialise in the wine styles in which the Margaret River region excels and for each example to be amongst the best of it’s type.
All stages of production are carried out onsite and the estate is entirely hand harvested. Small batch processing and minimal intervention strategies within the vineyard and winery maintain and highlight fruit quality and purity.