2017 is a very special year for Faber Vineyard in Perth’s Swan Valley as this month (September) they’ll be celebrating their 20th birthday! We have been out for cellar door tastings on a number of occasions (they are just up the road from Feral Brewery in Baskerville) alongside attending one of their well-known long-table lunches.
If you haven’t yet visited Faber, then perhaps you need to put it on your winery bucket list and get out there ASAP. However, if you want the full Faber experience (and become part of the Faber family!), then it’d be worth attending their birthday celebrations.
Who is Faber Vineyard?
Faber Vineyard was established in 1997 by winemaker John Griffiths & his wife Jane Micallef (an amazing cook!). They borrowed everything to establish the vineyard – and their love for the Swan Valley and hard work has paid off!
Faber is Latin for a smith, a craftsman, an artisan; skilled, ingenious.
John & Jane choose to grow grapes in the Swan Valley because of the strong winemaking heritage of the region alongside its potential to grow fantastic grapes that’ll turn into beautiful wines. Faber works really hard to highlight what the region grows best – Verdelho, Shiraz and Muscat.
From these traditional varieties we craft modern iterations that appeal to current wine lovers. Wines with a sense of place that allude to the traditions of the Swan. We don’t seek to revolutionise or be all things to all people – we have built on what the Swan Valley does best – richly flavoured and immensely drinkable wines, offered with honesty, our personal touch, and generosity,” – John
John studied Oenology at Roseworthy Agricultural College. Once graduating he crafted his skills as a winemaker at Houghton Wines for 6 years prior to starting Faber with Jane. He has spent 8 years as the President of the Wine Industry Association of WA and 6 years as President of the Swan Valley & Regional Winemakers Association. Alongside being a wine judge at many of the regional WA wine shows and a lecturer in Wine Science by Curtin University. That’s one impressive resume!
Alongside their Swan Valley vineyard, they also buy in grapes from other regions to offer a more diverse line-up at their cellar door. These include grapes from places like Donnybrook, Frankland River, the Ferguson Valley and Dwellingup.
The Cellar Door Wine Studio
A cellar door tasting at Faber is a unique experience! There is no counter or long tasting bench to stand at. Instead, when you arrive you are seated at your own private table either inside the studio or out on the deck overlooking the vines. Once seated and comfortable you can then choose whichever wines you’d like to try off the menu.
The whole idea of the ‘Wine Studio’ as Faber calls it, is to make you feel at home. Prior to opening the cellar door, they’d still welcome the public to pop in to taste the wines – in their home! They want that country-style kitchen feel, that makes you want to sit back, relax and wine the afternoon away. Done!
On our recent visit, we sat out on the deck and soaked up the view. I immediately felt relaxed and my full attention was dedicated to what was in my glass. Which brings me to one of my other favourite things about the Faber Wine Studio. They use decent glasses! Yep, your tastings will all be served up in lovely Riedel glassware – which really shows that the Faber team want their wines to look, smell and taste the best they possibly can. To be honest, I think the world needs to get rid of those ugly, short stumpy tasting glasses. Nice glassware all the way!
We haven’t yet eaten at the Faber Wine Studio – only at a long-table lunch which I will mention below. However, they do offer cheese and antipasto platters (we caught a glimpse of some and they looked divine!) alongside homemade soups and such. Next time, I think we’ll make an afternoon of it!
Cellar door tastings are $10 per person, however, if you make a purchase, it’s free. Between you and me, it’s very hard not to walk away without buying at least 1 bottle (I’ve never managed it to date!).
As previously mentioned Faber have a range of wines made from grapes grown in the Swan Valley alongside wines from other regions in WA. They have a great line-up of styles and varietals to choose from such as; a blanc de blanc sparkling wine (aka made from Chardonnay), ‘The Scarp (a special white blend made up of Chenin Blanc, Verdelho, and Semillon), Verdelho, a Shiraz rose, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Petite Verdot, Mourvedre, Malbec, Durif, Cabernet and of course a couple of fortified wines.
Bottles prices start at around $16.50 and range up to $58. On our recent visit, we thoroughly enjoyed the 2017 Verdelho and the 2017 Pure Rose which I will be tasting over the coming weeks. I’ll add my tastings notes to this post alongside sharing them on social media. So stay tuned!
Events & Long-Table Lunches
Faber is well-known in the Valley for their events, especially their long-table lunches. The wine is flowing, the home-cooking is awesome and there’s always a lot of laughs. It’s like attending a big extended family gathering – but where everyone has good taste in wine!
A couple of years ago when my parents were over from New Zealand, we headed along to one of the lunches for my Mum’s birthday and we had a great day. See the pics below!
Also make sure when you visit you say hello to wine-dogs, Sparkles and her Dad Roger who joined me on my tasting recently!
Address: 233 Haddrill Rd, Baskerville WA 6056
Phone: (08) 9296 0209
Opening times: 11am-4pm Friday to Sunday only
Wine tasting cost: $10 (free when you purchase wine)
Social Media: Facebook & Instagram
PS: This is my sort of tasting glass!!