About Frankland Estate
In a 1955 study of potential grapegrowing sites, renowned Californian viticulturalist Dr Harold Olmo identified Frankland River as one of the most promising prospects in Australia. The wines of Frankland Estate prove he was right. They display finesse and balance and an incisive expression of cool-climate winegrowing. Founded by Judi Cullam and Barrie Smith, this is indisputably one of the nation's most important and consistent Riesling producers. For many years now the release of the single-vineyard Rieslings from this domain in far-flung Great Southern has commanded attention and respect, as attested to by Nick Stock’s observation that Isolation Ridge Riesling "has now become so consistently great, it is a liquid tribute to the dedication of the Cullam family, to their vineyard and winemaking". The reds have likewise long been recognised as wines of pedigree with a strong sense of place. But things have gone up a level. Since 2010, second-generation winemaker Hunter Smith has been joined in the winery by brother-in-law Brian Kent. They’ve determinedly set about building on the tremendous progress made since Judi Cullam and Barrie Smith planted the first vines on Isolation Ridge 30-odd years ago. Hunter and Brian have focused on every detail of their technique, produce and – most important - organically farmed vineyard, with the ultimate aim of realising Frankland Estate’s immense potential. Now we see how that hard work has eased into being a suite of brilliant wines, divided between the Estate range, the single vineyards and the flagships. All confirm Frankland Estate as a leading light among Australia’s terroir-driven winegrowers.
Hunter Smith has a Bachelor of Business (Agricultural Management) degree from Marcus Oldham College in Victoria and became a full-time member of the Frankland Estate team in 1999. He is involved in every aspect of the winery operations including finance and marketing and is also responsible for managing the family’s wool growing interests.
He shares winemaking duties with brother-in-law Brian Kent, who developed an interest in winemaking during a stint in London, where he worked at Majestic Wines. He went on to complete a postgraduate degree in Viticulture and Oenology from Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. In 2003, after his first vintage in Frankland River, Brian worked vintage in Russian River, a sub-region of the Sonoma Valley in California. In 2005 he completed another harvest in Rías Baixas in northwest Spain. Then, after six years of making wine in Frankland River, he joined the family business at Frankland Estate.