Galafrey Wines celebrates 40 years of winemaking at Mt Barker in Western Australia »

Congratulations to this tenacious, innovative winemaking family

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Cool climate view early in the morning before harvest, Galafrey Wines

Cool climate view early in the morning before harvest, Galafrey Wines [©Galafrey Wines]

Chardonnay grapes at Galafrey Wines
Nigel Rowe Kim Tyrer and Linda Tyrer, Galafrey Wines


It’s been a long road with lots of ups and downs, none more so than the last 15 years, but the family is now looking forward to the next 40 years making wine in Mt Barker in SW Western Australia.

In 1976 Ian and Linda Tyrer left their high-profile jobs in the computer industry and searched for a country lifestyle in rural WA.  With the new and emerging wine industry in WA, Ian and Linda started to do their homework. They searched high and low for the right property with the right aspects before they found the one where Galafrey is established.

Of course, these days you would pick a high tourism route with a highway out the front! In those days, it was totally about the viticulture.

After all 'Galafrey Wines philosophy is to strive for excellence in producing small parcels of distinctive and consistently exceptional wines through commitment to producing fruit of the highest quality which they believe is the key to great winemaking.'. Maybe a little cliché in this hipster world we now live in but the fact is it is an excellent vineyard and because it was set up properly in the first place, only minimal input is required making it very sustainable.

Ian and Linda planted chardonnay, muller thurgau, riesling, cabernet franc, merlot, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and notably one of the first to plant pinot noir in WA. 

Of course, the first year they moved to Mt Barker coincided with Cyclone Alby. The devastation was a welcoming to a rural lifestyle at the beckoning call of nature and the weather.

1980 was Galafrey’s first vintage and the wine was made at Alkoomi. In 1982 they moved to Plantaganet Wines and in 1983 started making their own wines in a converted shearing shed.

1984 saw a move to Albany where they took up residence in the old wool stall at the bottom of York Street – an urban winery before its time! Then in 1992 a purpose-built winery took Ian and Linda back to Mt Barker.

In 1987 Galafrey received its first major trophy – Best Cabernet Sauvignon in the Wine Show of WA for their 1985 Cabernet.

This was  followed in 1991 with a trophy for their riesling at the Sydney International Top 100 and in 1994 a trophy for Top WA Riesling at the SGIO Awards. There have been various gold medals and awards over the years, too many to mention.

Lows have been the hail storm in 1989 which wiped out one third of the vineyard, notably the riesling and cabernet sauvignon, which took three long years to recover. The vineyard looked like it had been shredded and the boundary fence a green hedge of destroyed foliage.

Thankfully there was no damage to the vineyard when it snowed 1992, a truly unique weather event!

2005 Vintage saw 7" of rain dropped in eight hours. All the reds were yet to be picked as no machinery could access the muddy vineyard and thus began a race against the birds.

But of course, the biggest low was the loss of Ian Tyrer in 2003 to cancer. Many rumours began and people began to question the future of Galafrey without Ian.

However Ian’s wife and daughter, Linda and Kim, carried on, following a steep learning curve and enduring a difficult time both personally and professional..

2011 saw Kim Tyrer, as CEO and Winemaker, pushing forward the family brand Galafrey Wines. Equally Kim’s husband Nigel Rowe works in the vineyard and winery as do their own young children – and so the family business cycle begins again.

It has been an incredible journey. Building Galafrey Wines quite literally from the ground up and now looking forward to the next 40 years. Galafrey Wines is very much the centre of their lives, family and lifestyle and continues to bring the family much pride and joy…. even on the hard days!

Here's cheers to the Tyrer-Rowe family!


  • Mount Barker (WA)

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October 06th, 2017
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