Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia

Meet the Characters: Virginia Willcock, Vasse Felix

Winemaking is an industry that is guided by passion and personality.  From small family-owned and managed vineyards to global brands producing vast quantities of wine from across Australia, it is passion and personality that guides the wine from grape to glass, and this is reflected in the characters you encounter when you visit an Australian winery. Guiding you through some of the country’s most stunning regions, enjoy our new series featuring a few of our leading Australian wine experts as they share their personal insights, adding even more life to what’s in your glass.

Virginia Willcock is the Chief Winemaker at Vasse Felix in Margaret River.

Having grown up in Perth, Western Australia, Virginia Willcock’s introduction to winemaking began as a teenager when her father (and his friends) bought a small vineyard just north of the city.

“I was fascinated by the joy it brought them, since there wasn’t much of a wine community in Perth back then,” she says. “People were more beer drinkers.”
Her love affair with wine hasn’t waned since. Virginia is now Chief Winemaker at Vasse Felix, the founding wine estate of Margaret River, located 260 kilometres (160 miles) down the coast from Perth.

“There are two types of winemakers – technical and intuitive,” says Virginia. “I’m the latter – I enjoy that beautiful process of learning and understanding what the fruit wants to do.”It’s an approach that has seen Virginia become one of the most awarded winemakers in Australia, but she modestly attributes much of her acclaim to the Margaret River region’s unique location, surrounded by towering karri forest and the powerful Indian Ocean.

“We’ve got this Mediterranean climate that allows the grapes to ripen brilliantly, but being situated on a cape, surrounded by three sides of coastline, there’s also an extreme maritime influence,” explains Virginia. “It’s this crisp sea breeze that adds to the grapes’ fresh, vibrant flavours.”

Vasse Felix winery offers a full menu of tours showcasing its enviable location and coveted Chardonnay and Cabernet varietals, as well as the estate’s art gallery, historical wine collection in The Vault, and award-winning Vasse Felix Restaurant, where you can indulge in a five-course tasting menu with perfectly paired wines.