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Rex Watson commenced business in the Australian Wine Industry in 1991 and began growing wine grapes in Coonawarra in 1997
In 1999 he commenced the planting of the most significant modern vineyard development in Coonawarra. In less than 5 years this was built into a venture that owns controls and manages almost 1,000 acres over three vineyards, all close to the historic township of Coonawarra and well within the geographically defined Coonawarra region. Currently Rex is the largest independent grape grower in the world-famous Coonawarra region. At full capacity the vineyards have the potential to produce up to 400,000 cases of premium Coonawarra wine from their own fruit. This presents the opportunity to consistently produce high volume, high quality premium wines year after year.
Coonawarra, Aboriginal for Wild Honeysuckle, is 230 miles Southeast of Adelaide and first planted in the 1840s. The region achieved its reputation in the 1950s â€“ first for Shiraz and later for Cabernet Sauvignon in the late 1960s. Recently, both the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc have also received critical acclaim.
The three Rex Watson estate vineyards are all situated near the centre of this fabled region, where the vines benefit not only from the great soils but also from the cooling sea breezes and gentler growing conditions of the southern tip of South Australia. They have been developed using the latest vineyard technology to create modern and efficient vineyards producing quality grapes for todayâ€™s discerning wine consumer.
At full capacity the vineyards have the potential to produce more than 400,000 cases of premium Coonawarra wine from our own fruit. This provides certainty of quality fruit supply for the various wines produced by the company. All fruit is grown under stringent conditions in consultation with the winemaker to ensure it matches the winemakerâ€™s intentions for the vintage.
The vineyards utilize the latest in viticultural technology: covered by a fully automated drip irrigation (electric pumps) system complete with in-ground moisture monitoring sensors and central computer control: a diesel motor operated â€śDan Flipperâ€ť integrated frost protection system prevents the vines from incurring frost damage during the cool winter nights. The trellis system comprises treated pine end assemblies, intermediate pine posts, drip wire with cordon and foliage wires where required: all rows are evenly spaced to allow the most efficient use of machinery in propagation and harvesting.
The majority of the rainfall occurs during the winter. With an annual rainfall of 650mm of which 282mm falls during the growing season (October through April). Spring is cool and frosty with a mild summer, although there are the occasional bursts of hot weather. The autumn is long and cool resulting in an extended ripening season allowing the fruit to build up flavour, which ensures a balanced acidity. Harvest is between mid March through to late April, and in some seasons through to early May. The white grapes are harvested a few weeks earlier then the reds.
Rex Watson has a vision and a passion to produce exceptional wine from the Coonawarra Region to be enjoyed at every occasion. The unique soils and cool climate of Coonawarra consistently produce some of Australia's best quality wines. Today Rex is embarking on his next journey through the ever changing wine Industry. In 2004 he commenced the production of branded packaged wine for the Australian and overseas markets, and during 2005 started exporting to the USA and Asia.
"After he sold his highly successful industrial services business to Brambles Group in 1998, Rex Watson decided to build on the core of a small 10-ha vineyard he had acquired in Coonawarra the year before. The business rapidly expanded, and today owns and manages almost 400 ha over three vineyards all within the Coonawarra region, and acquires additional grapes for the Limestone Coast range. The wines are made by industry veteran Roger Harbord at the Russet Ridge winery!" -James Halliday
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