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Duncan Harris - Swan Valley - Harris Organic
Duncan Harris

History – Swan Valley

In 1922 the area  – of Baskerville west of Great Northern Highway of the Swan Valley was subdivided for viticulture. The first grapevines were planted in 1923.

The Tolj family arrived to grow table grapes and currents

1933 the grape shed and accommodation was built, now the cellar door

1944 the Water tank stand and toilet were built

1985 The Tolj Family subdivided and sold the property  

In 1998 Duncan Harris started Harris Organic Wines while working full-time as an engineer.  Furthermore, he spent every spare moment working to establish his winemaker’s dream of a two-hectare organic vineyard and winemaking facilities at the Swan Valley property. Then, starting from “scratch” he cleared the trees, turning them into mulch, slashed the grass, removed the fruit trees and chased away the snakes. Then Duncan started by ploughing the ground in the hot summer months to remove the couch grass. This is evil in any vineyard, organic or not. He then added about 100 cubic metres of chook manure to the soil with the aid of a super spreader and 25 tonnes of lime to balance the soil pH.

Then Duncan hired a D9 caterpillar bulldozer, in April 1999, to rip all the planting lines ready for planting vines in the springtime.  April was the best time as the soil profile was dry. The horse-power of the “Cat” was all required to rip the soils solid clay layers. First planted was shiraz cuttings, sources from John Kosovich and a row of rootstock called Schwartzmann. Ten rows of 210 metres in total, giving room for 1000 vines.

Seven other varieties were planted, as the years progressed. The last being a row of Malbec. As a result, the selected buds from John Kosovich are producing a remarkable wine.

Duncan’s Swan Valley winery cellar door opened in the year 2000 and a new cellar door was built in 2002 with the aid of the late Peter Greville.

Baskerville region

There are four award-winning wineries in Memorial Avenue, Baskerville. We are at the top of the Swan Valley.

The other posts on this blog contain numerous articles about life and times of a Swan Valley organic winemaker and distiller.

Most of all; for more information contact Harris Organic Wines via email.