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    Devil's Lair

    About Us

    Devil's Lair is fortunate to be able to tread its own path, unrestrained by tradition, with a sense of wisdom that comes from a strong bond with an ancient land. It’s the intuition of a talented team, the freedom to do things differently and the subtlety of the soils that makes Devil’s Lair wines respected for their great clarity, delicate fruit flavours and elegant structure.

    The Devil’s Lair philosophy:
    Devil’s Lair is fortunate to be able to tread its own path, unrestrained by tradition, with a sense of wisdom that comes from a strong bond with an ancient land.

    It’s the intuition of a talented team, the freedom to do things differently and the subtlety of the soils that makes Devil’s Lair wines respected for their great clarity, delicate fruit flavours and elegant structure.

    The First People:
    Deep in the south of Margaret River, beyond where most tourists venture, stand towering karri trees resilient and proud, protecting a hidden cave they call the Devil’s Lair. This unassuming and somewhat shy cave is one of Australia’s most significant archaeological sites, holding evidence of human life nearly 50,000 years ago and some of the earliest records of Australian life.

    Phil Sexton:
    It was in the Devil’s Lair cave that the young student, Phil Sexton, found himself gaining practical insight while studying archaeology at university. The significance of this moment must have stayed with him, because years later, after he’d become a well-established innovator in the Western Australian hospitality industry, Phil purchased land in order to establish a winery. Located near the Devil’s Lair site, he decided to call his future wine brand Devil’s Lair.

    An Ancient Land:
    The ancient soils in which the Devil’s Lair vines flourish today were forming thousands of years ago, centuries before Margaret River was named such and well before anyone dreamt of growing wine in the region. It wasn’t until 6,000 years ago that the shoreline of Margaret River resembled its current shape. Once the shoreline became stable, the sand dunes formed, gradually becoming cemented as soils and slowly developed their character.

    These nutrient-rich soils have provided sustenance for flora and fauna ever since, but remain changing at the hand of the natural elements and those who tend the land. When Phil Sexton arrived in this cool, southerly part of Margaret River in 1980, he set about transforming what was by then essentially cleared land into the Devil’s Lair vineyards that still exist today, with the help of his viticulturist, Simon Robertson.

    Custodian Simon Robertson:
    Simon’s dedication to the site has seen him celebrate 20 years as viticulturist of Devil’s Lair. He is witness to the vast changes that have taken place resulting in a site that is visually understated, yet stunning, with a varied landscape of undulating slopes, blanketed by vines and vegetation, supported by the cool, maritime climate of Margaret River. With a keen sense of the idiosyncrasies of each block, the microclimates within the estate and the ways in which each and every vine responds in different conditions, Simon brings a sense of continuity with what was originally envisaged, what Devil’s Lair has become and what the future holds.

    Oliver Crawford’s winemaking touch:
    When Oliver Crawford arrived at Devil's Lair in 2008, he was a young, accomplished winemaker with a flair for Chardonnay and 10 years under his belt at Penfolds. He immediately recognised the potential of Devil's Lair and set about refining the wine style through tiny tweaks and an eye for detail. In other cases, it meant sweeping changes, such as sourcing Cabernet fruit from Wilyabrup in the north, rather than the estate vineyard in the south. Oliver's legacy was to be meticulous, to continually question and refine a winemaking style that is as much about intuition, as it is about science.

    A new chapter: Winemaker Ben Miller:
    In 2017 Ben was appointed Senior Winemaker at Devil’s Lair. He was initially lured to the wine industry by the promise of working on the land, creating something that speaks of its place, and the many people who come together to make the wine.

    “It’s is an introduction into the traditions, languages and food of so many countries around the world. It’s an endlessly fascinating journey,” he said.

    Ben is looking forward to continuing the philosophy of Devil’s Lair wines: to create outstanding examples of Margaret River’s leading varieties that are respected for their great clarity, delicate fruit flavours and elegant structure – with the freedom to do things a little differently.

    “I am continually motivated by the opportunity to make great Cabernet and Chardonnay, and the amazing colleagues I have the privilege to work with at Devils Lair.”

    The modern age of Devil’s Lair:
    The Devil’s Lair stable now includes Devil’s Lair, Dance with the Devil and most recently, The Hidden Cave collection. Focused on the varieties that fare best in Margaret River, Devil’s Lair Chardonnay is renowned for its taut acidity, excellent minerality, great length and structure and subtle oak influences; Devil’s Lair Cabernet Sauvignon is typically complex and layered with lively aromas, fine tannins and subtle oak characteristics.

    The Devil’s Lair wine labels recreate a Tasmanian tiger’s image together with a mysterious fifth leg - both are elements that were found amongst the remains in the Devil’s Lair cave during decades of archaeological research. The exact location of the Devil’s Lair cave remains a mystery to all but few, and those who are close enough to visit do so in the company of a traditional elder of the land.

    The significance of this site is not lost on the Devil’s Lair team. Just as the cave remains a rich source of primary information for those committed to mapping out the lives and lifestyles of the early Australians, it continues to provide a source of inspiration for us. Vintage to vintage, Devil’s Lair strives to capture the essence of the land in order to create wines that are revered in their own way.

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