Voyager Estate’s head of winemaking and viticulture, Steve James, will step down from his full-time position in November and transition into a regional viticultural consulting role.
Following 23 vintages with Voyager Estate, Steve will continue to work closely with the production team in his new capacity well into the future, including assisting in finalising the vineyards’ organic conversion by 2023, while at the same time being able to bring his expertise to other winegrowers and producers across the region.
“It is with immense pride and appreciation that I am departing my current role,” Steve says.
“Following nearly 24 amazing years at Voyager Estate, first as viticulturist and for the past 13 years as head of winemaking and viticulture, I feel the time is right for me to embrace my long-held personal ambition and move into the viticulture consulting sphere, with a specialised focus on organic, sustainable and regenerative farming practices.
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that Voyager Estate has provided me with, and to move forward with the knowledge that we have developed a terrific team of people who are committed to and passionate about continuing the journey of making exceptional Margaret River wines.
“My close links with Voyager Estate will continue as consultant viticulturist, where I will continue working with the team on its pathway to sustainably crafting wines with a true sense of place”.
Steve cites organic farming as one of the key reasons Voyager Estate has been able to continually improve fruit quality and create exceptional, expressive and elegant wines, even in the face of challenging vintages.
It is his significant experience in the benefits of organic viticulture that he hopes to implement throughout the region more broadly, with the aim of establishing Margaret River as a leader in both organic vineyard management and regenerative farming.
Voyager Estate owner Alexandra Burt acknowledges the legacy that Steve has created and that he will continue to play a pivotal role in carrying the business through an exciting new phase of transition and growth.
“I am so proud of how Steve has integrated the winemaking and viticulture at Voyager Estate,” Alexandra says.
“I am grateful to him for his commitment, leadership and no-fuss approach to work and life that have made him many friends during his more than two decades with us.
“We are delighted that Steve will remain connected to the Voyager family.
“We know his expertise, particularly in sustainability and organics, will be much-sought-after and we are delighted to be able to support him as he embarks on this new chapter in his career.
“Thanks to the exceptional team that Steve has built over the years, we have the luxury of time in terms of recruitment and will be taking a considered approach to ensure we continue to build the right team for our next chapter.”
Voyager Estate produces organically-farmed, 100 percent estate-grown and made wines of place, with 170 years of family farming heritage.
The wines reflect the unique qualities of its place in Stevens Valley Margaret River, with its undulating slopes, warm summers and cooling maritime breezes, produced through low-interference methods to let the grapes truly shine.
It is one of Australia’s most innovative producers of world-class Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and varietals that evoke a true sense of place.
Since planting its first vines in 1978, Voyager Estate has made a long-term commitment to sustainability with the goal of ultimately becoming a carbon-neutral business.
Carbon footprint reduction, use of renewable energy, carbon offsets, waste reduction and comprehensive recycling, land rehabilitation and revegetation activities, and playing a lead role in the region’s regenerative farming landscape are key focuses.
Further, Voyager Estate is a certified member of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia (SWA). With nearly 90Ha of vines officially Australian Certified Organic (ACO), the remainder are set to achieve full Certified Organic status by 2023.
The lauded Voyager Estate restaurant showcases forward-thinking ‘food of terroir’.
Award-winning Head Chef Santiago Fernandez sources produce from the estate’s own kitchen garden and local suppliers to create a menu derived from and inspired by the elegance of the wines.
Produce is seasonal, locally-sourced, and organic where possible.
Menus change six times a year in tune with key seasonal milestones in the vineyard, with chef and sommelier working closely to create flavour pairings that do justice to the magical corner of Margaret River.