Are you ready for a taste of Texas in Western Australia? Join regular contributor Naomi as she introduces us to Rising Star in WA’s Great Southern wine region…
I took a visit to Rising Star, arriving an hour before closing time and leaving only because we had too.
Found off Scotsdale Road, Rising Star is one of the closest wineries to the town centre and a delight to visit.
Even doggos are welcome.
A Little About Rising Star And Its Owners
I originally met Rising Star owners Paul and Gwen at the Albany Wine and Food Festival the weekend prior where I made a promise to visit their cellar door. Gwen was surprised and delighted to see me, and as we had already met, it made the tasting experience that much more delightful.
The vines at Rising Star were originally planted in 1989, while the site was purchased by Paul and Gwen in 2005.
Originally hailing from Texas, the couple fell in love with Denmark after holidaying in the region. They saw many similarities with their home town with wide-open spaces, friendly people, and the local ‘can-do attitude’.
The only difference, of course, is that rich Texan accent.
Now you may also be wondering, how did they choose “Rising Star” as their winery name? What is the significance to them? Well, it is the name of a small town “Rising Star” that meant a lot to the family.
In addition to his love of wine, Paul is an accomplished and decorated brewer and was certified as a beer judge with the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) in 2004 while living in Alaska.
The Cellar Door Experience
The cellar door was originally a jarrah and weatherboard Tractor shed which has been renovated.
As part of the renovations, they made sure to keep something that they felt was pretty special to the previous owners which I found out after a chance encounter.
When we arrived, there were two other couples who were trying tastings and Gwen was fantastic at keeping up with who was tasting what and taking us through the stories of the wine and the winery.
Unfortunately, Paul wasn’t there that afternoon, but Gwen was more than capable of holding the room with her infectious enthusiasm.
Inside there are many odes to their origins and plenty of stars, so there is no reason for you to ‘accidentally’ forget where you are!
There are also options to sit outside on the verandah and overlook the vines. I’m sure with enough notice, Paul and Gwen will be more than happy to conduct a tasting out on the deck.
But What About The Wine?
All wine bottled by Rising Star is estate-grown, meaning that the winery grew the grapes, made the wine and does so all on-site.
You can find varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunièr which were specifically planted for their sparkling wine range.
Their sparkling wine range is made in line with the “Methode Traditionelle” approach, made famous by the Champagne wine region of France.
In addition, the winery also grows and sells:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
There are 10 acres ‘under-vine’ and are divided between two sections.
- A small block of “House Cabernet” planted behind the cottage on Redman Road, and
- All other remaining varietals in an elevated position up the hill.
Vines are supported by Vertical Shoot Positioning (VSP) trellising. This method of training the vines is very common in cool climate regions, with low to moderate vigorous growth, as it encourages better airflow through the vine canopy. The increase in air flow helps prevent problems associated with disease (like mold), allowing the fruiting area to dry out quicker after any rain.
As I was driving (boo…), I had to limit what I was willing to taste and spit and believe me, this was unknown territory for me!
Although I did had to revisit their Rosé, which they have nick-named to Brosé. A Rosé for the bros.
A Chance Encounter
July last year, Bryce and I visited a winery in the Geographe Wine Region; Bakkheia where we met Sacha and her husband. Chatting, as you do when you have had a couple of wines and low and behold, we found a connection – Rising Star Wines!
It turned out that Sacha’s family lived on the property before Paul and Gwen bought it back in 2005.
She had recently visited and mentioned some markings made into the concrete.
Turned out, even though Paul and Gwen had recently upgraded the concrete floor, they had kept the markings from Sacha and her uncle’s dog Arthur.
How cute is that!