We are Richard and Julie Parish, owners of Parish Lane Wines.
It can be hard to find wines that authentically live up to the story on the label, and when you do find intriguing wines that surprise your palate and leave you wanting more, they can be hard to track down at the big stores. We started Parish Lane Wines to offer something genuine to wine lovers - small batch, hand-picked chardonnay, pinot noir and merlot from the Great Southern wine region of Western Australia. Now we are sharing these wines with people like you all over the country.
Our wines are different to anything you will find from the big brands as they reflect the care and attention we are able to give by producing small batches, managing our small vineyard by hand, and harvesting by hand. Only the best grapes are selected and each vintage reflects the season in which it was grown and the soil and climate of our vineyard.
So how did two city-dwelling wine novices become country-living wine business owners?
As a school teacher and a musician we had a steep learning curve ahead of us when we decided to enter the world of wine. But naivety sprinkled with a bit of dreaming is often the start of great adventures, and in the the early 1990s we were ready for a lifestyle change. We wanted to escape to the country, be part of a real community and do something productive on the land. We found our piece of paradise in the Kalgan area, about 40km east of Albany Western Australia, surrounded by trees and gravel lanes and views of hills in the distance. But with full-time teaching positions being hard to come by in our new home, our move to the country took longer than expected. We spent a few years commuting from Perth to Albany on weekends and holidays, to work on our land and build a house there, until we were finally able to make a permanent move in 2000.
During this time some friends who owned a vineyard suggested that our land would be good for growing grapes and we started planting vines in the late 1990s. With no prior experience in wine (except the drinking part) we didn’t quite know where this journey would take us. What we did know however was that we were going to need some help along the way. Luckily, the neighbours were friendly, the local wine community was welcoming and our friends and family were happy to pick grapes at harvest if there was cake involved. Not to mention wine.
Through Richard’s job at ManyPeaks Primary School and joining the volunteer fire brigade and tennis club, we got to know the locals, many of whom are long time farming families in the area. Julie and her cello became part of the local music scene, initially teaching music at schools, and eventually opening the Classical Music Shop in Albany where she still teaches and supplies all things classical music today.
After the first two vintages were wiped out by birds, we started to net the vines, and in 2005 we invited our new friends, along with family members from Perth, to help us pick our first harvest. It has become an ongoing annual event that provides a great ‘catch up’ day for everyone involved. Our yearly pickers dinner has also become a fixture on the calendar and is another great chance to catch up, try some wines and swap stories.
We created Parish Lane Wines literally from the ground up when we planted the vineyard with our own hands. But from the very start it has always been more than just the two of us, with so many friends and family sharing the journey and the workload along the way. And at the end of the day, when the work is done, we are so grateful for this community that has become such a big part of our lives. Things don’t always go to plan, particularly when there is weather and grape-loving wildlife involved, but with persistence and patience we have created something we are happy to be able to share with people everywhere. As we continue on this journey we are building that sense of community - meeting people, sharing wine, stories and experiences, and being a part of a vibrant and genuine wine community.
Parish Lane Wines was created to be shared, so meet us at our next event or join our mailing list below and be part of the authentic experience of Parish Lane.
Richard and Julie