Success for local winery

Region in focus: Julie Hillier, Mystique Hillier and Karl Hillier from Harris River Estate Winery. Photo: Supplied.
Region in focus: Julie Hillier, Mystique Hillier and Karl Hillier from Harris River Estate Winery. Photo: Supplied.

Move over Margaret River, Collie is looking to take over as the South-West's winery hot spot after local vineyard Harris Estate Winery celebrated an award-winning start to 2019.

Situated in the rolling hills of the Harris River State Forrest, the local winery collected four golds and two high silvers in blind tastings this year for the internationally renowned Wine Showcase Magazine.

Julie Hillier, one half of the husband and wife duo that owns the estate, said they had plenty of other plans for Harris Estate Winery and she hoped to be part of Collie's exciting future.

"It's been a great journey so far," Mrs Hillier said.

"We're a single vineyard producer and we're independent, so it takes time and money to get to the point we're at now.

"We have a vision to be more than just a winery and restaurant.

"We're reaching our goals with our wine but, from a vision perspective, our goal is to one day become a tourism hub for the area."

With views overlooking the vines, dam and an amphitheatre, the local estate brings a new taste to the South-West wine lover's journey.

"I think we bring something different to the table than other wineries in that we're only two hours from Perth, surrounded by beautiful view of the bush, as well as good wine," Mrs Hillier said.

"We do everything on site, which we're proud of as that's not common for someone as small as us, and we're very fortunate our wine maker used to be a senior wine maker for Penfolds.

"We work together really creatively and she has been absolutely instrumental to getting recognised in our recent award wins."

With a wealth of international experience in the corporate world, Karl and Julie Hillier have also turned their eyes to the international wine market.

Harris River Estate Winery now exports to 14 Chinese provinces and has exported 12 containers during the past 12 months.

Last week, the pair traveled to Singapore to meet with potential distributors in the local market, as well as discuss the possibility of supplying wine to the famous Shangri La Hotel.

But Mrs Hillier said the focus for the estate was still on Collie and supporting the growth of the town.

"Collie is on the brink of transformation, between the Collie Futures Funding and shire focus on diversification," Mrs Hillier said.

"Collie can only go up from here.

"Strategically we want to collaborate with other businesses to get Collie on the tourism map. We have everything at our fingertips, we just have to grasp it.

"This area is so beautiful and full of potential and it's up to us to take advantage of the opportunities presented to us as a town and share them."