Stella Bella's stellar wines

03 Feb, 2013 01:00 AM

DID you know that wine has the potential to boost brain power, reduce the risk of heart attack, slow brain decline and lower the risk of type two diabetes?

These are just a few of the benefits of drinking wine - and may provide you with an excuse to drink more.

Hidden away from the trodden tourist tracks of Margaret River, between rolling hills laced with rows of green vines and stunning native bushland, sits Stella Bella winery, just out of the small town of Karridale.

Stuart Pym is chief winemaker and production manager at Stella Bella Wines, and with more than 20 years of experience under his belt he knows the wine-making game inside out.

Stuart really is an embodiment of our unique Margaret River region with a passion and commitment to wine that shines through in his friendly smile.

Stella Bella Wines started as a weekend hobby for Stuart and his partner Janice McDonald on their 4.5ha Augusta property in 1996.

"It's all a bit round about, when we actually started we were both winemakers at other places at the time," Stuart said.

In 1997 Stuart and Janice produced the first Suckfizzle sauvignon semillon blanc from the fruit of the Augusta vineyard, which was released in 1998.

The year 2000 brought with it the first production of Stella Bella in the form of Stella Bella Pink Muscat.

This was consolidated with the first Stella Bella white wine released in 2001 and first red wine released in 2002.

In pursuit of challenge and a change, Stuart only began full time at Stella Bella in 2008 taking over from Janice as chief winemaker.

The pair have been the driving force behind Stella Bella's extensive range of wines that exemplify the quality and uniqueness that the Margaret River region is renowned for.

Stella Bella has broad appeal, providing for everyone from the entry level social drinker to the sophisticated wine appreciator.

Stella Bella has four essential brands ranging from the everyday social drinking wine Skuttlebutt, launched in 2004, to the classic Stella Bella range, premium to ultra-premium range Suckfizzle and Stella Bella's finest selection, Series Luminosa. launched in 2010.

With a single region emphasis, the people at Stella Bella have made it part of their brand to promote local and regional produce.

"We are focused on being a Margaret River producer, this is obviously a very high profile region," said Stuart.

Stella Bella operates 90ha of vineyard and purchases grapes in varying quantities from another six vineyards in Margaret River, which allows the company to ensure consistent quality and meet market demands.

"At the moment we would have the same challenge as basically every wine producer in Australia and pretty close to the world, selling wine at a realistic margin, the two major supermarkets control demand so it's a highly competitive market place," said Stuart.

Stella Bella does not sell a large portion of wine to corporates opting to sell directly to restaurants and independent retailers.

"Often the guy who owns the store works there,"he said. "This allows you to get a good level of interest and good relationships between a store owner and his customers as well as the suppliers."

Stuart attributed the success of Stella Bella to the winemaker's appreciation for world wine styles and an understanding of the diversity of wine styles out there.

"We have a thorough understanding of what it takes to make great wine with a depth of personality and character," he said.

"There is a Stella Bella style within the wide range of wines we offer.

"The other part to our success is that we know what we like.

"This has come from being broad-minded because we have tasted and drunk wines from around the world and have visited a lot of regions, so we're fairly grounded in what happens and what the potential styles are.

"I think all our wines from across the board have a good expression of personality but they also have lots of flavour and substance that engage your mouth and brain."

Looking to the future, Stuart said they were in the formative stages of looking into opportunities in Asia.

"We want to be realistic about it and we don't want to all of a sudden sell 70 per cent of our wine to Asia," he said.

" We want to find the right importers, then build a brand and have a slow organic growth to ensure that it is a solid respected brand in the region.

"We don't want to be one of those brands that are here today and gone tomorrow."

Stella Bella now sells wines by the glass at its cellar door in Margaret River and Stuart believes that this will change the wine tasting experience at Stella Bella.

"Now people can stay and drink a glass of wine rather than just taste and this will allow visitors to try food as part of the whole wine experience," he said.

It soon becomes evident that there is something special about Stella Bella wines, from its quirky names to its consistent quality.

"We create wine that reflects Stella Bella's quality and style and of paramount importance to us is maintaining brand integrity and building on it," Stuart said.

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NO ships with live animals should be leaving Australia. This industry is animal abuse and animal
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we are happy to have Aldi in katanning doing business with WAMCO we also wanted and in great
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This is a disgrace but what can you expect from a Liberal Government that insists on making