David Hohnen of McHenry Honen played a massive part in putting Margaret River on the world wine map and he’s just been honoured with an Order of Australia for significant service to oenology, to the development of the Australian wine industry, and as a promoter of the Margaret River region.
A third generation farmer, David Hohnen studied winemaking and viticulture in California in the 1960’s where he refined his interest in biological farming. David returned to Western Australia in 1970 to establish a small vineyard on the outskirts of Margaret River. This was to become Cape Mentelle Vineyards. 1976 saw the first release for Cape Mentelle and in 1985 David had also established Cloudy Bay in Marlborough, New Zealand.
As Chief Executive, David guided the growth of Cape Mentelle and Cloudy Bay until 2003, at which time he left to create McHenry Hohnen; a concept of biological farming, grape growing and winemaking. His focus has always been on creating top quality wines through natural, organic and biodynamic methods.
You can find David at the Margaret River Farmers Market most Saturdays selling The Farmhouse Margaret River organic meat, smokehouse and small goods. Although nationally he might be better known as a winemaker, the locals are very familiar with his what his other ventures are plating up.
David is a humble character and when asked to share his thoughts on winemaking in the Margaret River region, he looked to the future “With a third generation of winemakers we’ve got a culture of wine; people who socialize together that are winemakers. I think that’s really positive. I see a younger generation of winemakers turning their backs on what I saw as way too much science in winemaking. I love what they’re doing. Some are taking it a bit too far: I don’t drink orange wine. But I love the philosophy behind it and those that are getting the balance correct are making wines that really speak of this region.”
Image: Sarah Hewer