?> History | Condingup Vineyard

History

Established in 1985

In 1976, Jim and Christine Creighton moved to the Condingup district with their two young sons, Douglas and Charles. The little family quickly settled into the local community, with Jim working freelance and Christine teaching at the local school, and in 1985 the family purchased a modest patch of paddock adjacent to the Condingup town site. Here the young family started to build a shed, handcrafting it from silt-stone collected from the nearby farm ‘The Duke’. The shed was “practice” and the house was to begin construction soon after. Jim told his wife, “the house will be finished by Christmas”, although he cunningly neglected to mention which year. For about a decade tourists visiting Condingup would enquire about the possibility of visiting ‘The Ruins’ assuming it was falling down not going up. But the shed was taking shape and the family was growing too – although the arrival of their daughter Aneta in 1987 was often blamed for the building delays. Eventually The Ruins were finished, and today the infamous shed is employed as the main winery building.

 

Over the years the Creightons lent their hands to various endeavours on their little patch, including raising goats, sheep, pigs and poultry. But Jim grew tired of animal husbandry and started looked into land use studies that had been conducted throughout Western Australia during the 1960s. His interest was piqued by a study that suggested the South East Coastal region could be ideal for the production of certain wine grape varieties. After further research, wine consumption and thorough soil testing, it was determined that grape growing was the future. Grape varieties commonly grown in Portugal and Spain would be best suited to the warm and arid terrain of Condingup and thus in the early 1990s the adventure began. Procurement of the appropriate specimens for planting was only half the battle. For the next few years there was great competition between the young grape vines and the local populations of rabbits and grasshoppers.  With hard work from the whole family and a bit of luck the issues presented by the local pests, the deep sand and the lack of water were out manoeuvred and Condingup Vineyard grew into the oasis of greenery that can be seen today.

Jim and Christine used their 12 acre vineyard to produce wines throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. They became well known particularly for their robust red wines. Sadly in 2009 Christine was diagnosed with cancer and wine production ceased during the battle for her health. Christine passed away in 2015 and her loss was felt strongly not only by her family but by the entire Condingup community. She passed on her incredible work ethic, determination and commitment to learning to her three children. Her daughter Aneta became particularly interested in grape growing and wine production and completed a Bachelor in Viticulture and Oenology at Curtin University of Technology in 2014. Although Christine did not live to see it, in 2017 Jim and Aneta once more took the reins of Condingup Vineyard and recommenced wine production.