Cullen is one of the best-known estates in Western Australia’s Margaret River region, south of Perth. Named after the family who originally founded the estate in 1971, Cullen produces wines of impeccable quality and has long pioneered environmentally sensitive practices.
Vanya Cullen, daughter of the original winemakers, has headed up the estate for 30 years. She was named James Halliday’s winemaker of the year in 2020. Vanya continued her parents’ legacy of looking after the land and takes a holistic approach to the business.
Cullen started organic practices in 1998, was certified as biodynamic in 2003 and became carbon neutral in 2006. Today, it is proudly carbon negative. It practices carbon offsetting by planting native trees and shrubs in Australia’s largest carbon sink reforestation project, the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor. Soil studies in 2020 found the carbon levels in the estate’s soil had increased 2%, meaning the estate now sequesters more carbon than the entire business emits.
In part, Vanya sees her role to care for the land she farms. The wines are almost a bonus. She’s a staunch believer that healthy soils and vines produce better quality fruit. That, in turn, enables Cullen to make unique wines that are genuinely pure expressions of place.
This gentle touch approach to winemaking gives real, visceral life to the Cullen oeuvre. This is evident in its entire range, but no more so than in its flagship Diana Madeline which is arguably Australia’s leading Cabernet blend and named after Vanya’s mother.
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