Voyager Estate – A small book of fine wine

We don’t keep many pieces of paper these days. You’d think the forests of the world could relax.

Do you keep a paper diary?

People try to give their adult kids heaps of books found invaluable over the years but downsizing left no room for large bookcases. No thanks, Dad.

Reference books?

Google ate them.

One of our favourite sayings was from the always-quotable Samuel Johnson.

“Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it.”

Beautiful, eh? He was praising the fulsomeness, the indispensability of books.

Don’t look for him in a Book of Quotes. It’s quicker online.

Google has killed that book too. Information now is online.

But there is one slender paper publication we hold onto year after year.

It is the booklet for the annual Voyager Estate Masterclass.

Voyager Estate Masterclass
The little book of wine treasures
A magnificent story between these covers

The founder of Voyager Estate, Michael Wright, drew on 150 years of family farming experience to set up one of Australia’s truly magnificent wine experiences.

Selecting a site in the Stevens Valley of Margaret River was just the first step. Originally planted in 1978 it became Michaels’s in 1991 and what he, his family and friends have done since then is remarkable. The Founder died in 2012 but today his team is so proud of their Estate, its practices and its resulting precious products that they take their show on the road each year.

Michael always insisted that his winemakers compared their wines not only to the ones down the road but to the best in the world. For those of us who cannot pop into Margaret River each year the roadshow is the most welcome and privileged update.

TML was recently a guest at the Sydney tasting where we were seated in front of nine glasses of white wine and the booklet.

Voyager Estate Masterclass
A magnificent line-up for comparison
A great read

The booklet, A5, square-bound, forty pages holds a listing of nine chardonnays and nine cabernets or blends. Four of the whites and four of the reds are from Voyager. The others are from great producers in Australia and overseas… South Africa, Italy, NZ, USA and France. The Voyager whites range from $45 to $90. Their reds from $45 to $150. The comparison wines go up to $200 and $300. Exceedingly generous of them.

Voyager Estate Masterclass
The team: James, Steve and Travis

There are comprehensive notes on each wine. It says much about the camaraderie of the wine fraternity worldwide that they are able to obtain so much detailed information, which would be considered secret in most other industries.

The second part of the book has maps and highly detailed notes on the climate and soils of the various regions.

A tiny treasure in itself.

How about this line-up

The wines were tasted blind but the whites were revealed as Voyager Estate Chardonnay – their entry level; the new single vineyard Block 5 and Block 6 and the daddy of them all, the Tom Price, a meticulous selection of the best from 5 and 6.

Against them were By Farr from Geelong; Flowers from California’s Sonoma; Neudorf from Nelson NZ; Hamilton Russell from South Africa and a Cote de Beaune from Hubert Lamy.

The magnificent Voyager Estate. More than worth a visit

The reds were the standard Voyager Estate Cab Merlot, the Project North Block and Project Old Block plus the culminating Tom Price.

For comparison, a mighty challenge from the neighbouring Woodlands “Thomas”; a Matthiasson and a Spottswoode Estate from the Napa; the super Tuscan Ornellaia and a Chateau Cos d’Estournel from Bordeaux.

Needless to say all the wines were impressive, not much between them in quality and enjoyment, but each with its signature character. You would love them all in your cellar. As welcome as the flavours were the discussions of each wine, led by the winemaking team from Voyager Estate.

Read for yourself

The back pages of this slim volume are now scrawled with notes of our own impressions on the day plus quotes on the run from the boys.

Thanks team.

A precious book. Properly shelved until needed.

To find out more about one of Australia’s most important and exciting wine ventures more than willing to match itself against the world read all about it at



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Ian MacTavish

Mr MacTavish is a celebrated writer and one of Australia's more respected Wine reviewers, appearing regularly in national magazines, in print and on line. So far, he has never been heard to say 'no' to a wee dram.

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