Capel Vale was the first winery in Western Australia to own and establish vineyards in the cool climate regions of Margaret River, Mount Barker and Geographe. As a result, Capel Vale now produces wines of definitive regional flavour and varietal expression with a focus on balance, complexity and elegant fruit flavours.
Capel Vale is a pioneer in WA with vines planted in 1974. The initial winery was built on the Stirling Estate in Capel in 1979 followed shortly thereafter with the first vintage made by Dr Peter Pratten in 1980.
Wine Making philosophy
As pioneers within the Western Australia wine industry, Capel Vale wears its feather with pride as the first family owned winery to identify and refine the viticultural potential in the outstanding cool climate regions of Geographe, Mount Barker and Margaret River in Western Australia.
While suiting a variety of tastes, these individual wines reflect a winemaking philosophy of wines with balance, complexity and elegant fruit flavours that gives rise to wines demonstrating distinctive regional essence of these finest 3 cool climate wine regions.
From the company’s creation in 1974 by Dr Peter and Elizabeth Pratten, to handing of the torch over to son Simon Pratten in the mid 2000’s, Capel Vale has always been one of the leading family-owned and managed wineries.
A winemaking philosophy of wines with balance, complexity & elegant fruit flavours.
Our rich history is littered with significant achievements a list of which can be found here. In 1986, Peter Pratten as winemaker produced a Capel Vale Riesling which was named Australian National Dry White Champion. An historic moment in the history of not only Capel Vale but also of Riesling in Australia.
We are extremely fortunate that Peter’s foresight has resulted in outstanding mature vineyards in pristine, beautiful locations that are widely regarded amongst the finest wine grape growing regions in the world.
Come and discover why Capel Vale is one of Western Australia’s best wineries at 118 Mallokup Road Capel – Our Cellar door over looking the vineyard that started it all or enjoy a sumptuous meal at our wonderful Match Restaurant.
Dr Peter Pratten
The Capel River, adjacent to Capel Vale winery is home to many species of waterfowl, including the protected Sheldrake, or native Mountain Duck. When the Pratten family originally planted the vines in 1974, the Mountain Ducks constantly surrounded them, reminding them of their presence whilst they work.
The banks of the Capel River were deliberately untouched to allow the ducks to maintain their natural habitat and can still be seen today, squawking merrily along their way “symbolise what Capel Vale is all about”
Ducks are social animals, and adopt those around them as family and flock. In choosing this space as a place to create Capel Vale wines, the Pratten family knew that these ducks had to symbolise what Capel Vale is all about. For over four decades, the quacking of generations of Sheldrakes have reminded the Prattens and all those that visit Capel Vale, that they are part of something very special.
The male Sheldrake possesses the exuberant orange band and is one of the only times we dare say that the male will outshine the female form!
Stewardship of the land
Capel Vale has multiple vineyards across an array of regions and micro climates, all of which are unique and precious. Being environmentally conscious, modern viticultural techniques are married to natural processes in order to preserve the environment.
For example, we use gunnie fowl in the vineyards as our head pest controllers. These birds love the insects that can and do spoil the grapes. We use bird netting in the necessary years to prevent bird peck in the grapes. We give our neighbours sheep free range in the vineyards aisles for natural weed control. We grow clover and native plants between the vine rows to give nutrients back to the soil. The winery vineyards are water sufficient. Rainwater is collected from the winery and warehouse roof, all winery and bottling wastewater is recycled and used to irrigate the vineyard.
The land is what produces our outstanding grapes and we are conscious that we need to preserve and enrich the land for our family, and for their families in the years to come.