The Dewar Family
Jeff is the youngest of three brothers. His parents Gavin and Pauline Dewar have purchased a property in Broomehill in 1979, but Jeff decided that broad acre farming wasn’t for him. His two older brothers now run this property as two separate identities.
In the early 1990’s Jeff decided broad acre farming was not his passion and looked at diversifying however wanted to stay within the field of agriculture.
He and his wife Vicki looked at different options that included market gardening and chicken raising, but decided early that these were not lifestyle choices that appealed to them.
In the mid 1990’s viticulture appeared an attractive option - working on the land growing grapes with the end product being crafted. This led to getting to know many real estate agents and looking at properties in the Margaret River wine region.
Both Jeff and Vicki had a passion to start their own business rather than buy into an established brand, to build their business from the ground up and make it theirs.
A family friend was excited about the viticultural potential of the Ferguson Valley and after an initial visit to the region they were captivated. Not only was it a visually spectacular property, but when driving a two-wheel vehicle in the middle of winter without getting bogged, they were convinced that the site had potential for viticulture due to the undulation and well-drained gravelly soils.
Further extensive research led to the purchase of the 420 acre property in 1996.
In 1997 they planted 100 acres of wine grapes – and held their breath. Then another 50 acres were planted in 1998, making Willow Bridge the biggest planting in what was then a largely unknown region.
The Dewars’ confidence that they had made the right decision was boosted after a phone call from Rob Bowen, one of WA’s best and most highly respected winemakers. Rob showed great interest in what they were doing and was subsequently appointed Willow Bridge winemaker in 1999.