Last drop for winery as Dalyup River closes

ESPERANCE's iconic Dalyup River Wines will cease production next year, as owners Tom and Jenny Murray call it a day after nearly four decades in the industry.

The Murrays bottled their last batch of white wine last Thursday in what was a bittersweet moment for the couple.

The Esperance region's only commercial winery, Dalyup River Wines produces of a number of reds and whites, including the popular Hellfire and Duke varieties.

Ms Murray said they had planted their first vines in 1976 after seeking advice from experts about the suitability of wine production in the region.

"The Murrays have had the property since 1949. My husband Tom took over when he was 21," she said.

"The reason we went into grapes is because we didn't have enough money to buy more land for cropping.

"We spoke to experts who said Dalyup was a suitable location for a vineyard because of the river and loam plus a reliable rainfall of about 600 millimetres annually."

It would take another 12 years before Dalyup River Wines would produce its first vintage in 1988.

For the Murrays, building the now iconic Dalyup River Wines brand from scratch has been a labour of love.

"Tom has worked so hard over the years. His dedication and passion has kept him going," Ms Murray said.

"He said that if he was going to make wine, he ought to do it properly.

"At age 39, he went back to university to study wine science via correspondence through Charles Sturt University.

"He used to get up at 4am and study for two hours before going out and working 12 hours on the farm.

"It took him six years to finish his degree."

Starting with one white and one red, Dalyup River Wines now produces six different varieties of local wine.

"We deliberately gave each of the types a distinctly Esperance name," Ms Murray said.

Over the years the brand has received a number of accolades, including topping the state's premier wine show exclusively judging Western Australian wines in 1997.

"When we topped the WA Wine Show, the nicest thing, apart from the trip to France, was the support we received from Esperance people. Locals are really proud of these wines," Ms Murray said.

"We are really thankful for all the support we have received over the years.

"We never went for glamorous advertising. Rather, we relied on word of mouth."

With the last batch of whites bottled last week, Ms Murray said Dalyup River Wines would produce its last lot of reds after Christmas before winding down production for good.

Tom and Jenny Murray are calling it a day at Dalyup River Wines.

Tom and Jenny Murray are calling it a day at Dalyup River Wines.

Tom and Jenny Murray are calling it a day at Dalyup River Wines.

Tom and Jenny Murray are calling it a day at Dalyup River Wines.

Tom and Jenny Murray are calling it a day at Dalyup River Wines.

Tom and Jenny Murray are calling it a day at Dalyup River Wines.