The Follett family has lived in Langhorne Creek for more than 120 years. Arthur John Follett, the greatgrandfather of Greg Follet, who is current winemaker of Lake Breeze, started a vineyard for his family in the 1880s. It is the foundation for the successful wine his great-grandchild produces.
Langhorne Creek is known for producing particularly complex red wines. The climate is very moderate, so that the grapes ripen slowly. Every year, the Bremer River floods and enriches the vineyard areas with alluvial deposits. With the help of a sophisticated system, the water is channelled in such a way that it stays on a given vineyard area for one to two days before it is passed on to the neighbouring vineyard. This is enough time for the soil to soak up sufficient water and nutrients until the next year!
The growing of grapes and the breeding of dairy cattle were the two pillars on which the operation rested for a long time. Len Follett, Greg’s grandfather, founded the “Bremer View Illawarra Stud” in 1932 and raised Illawarra cattle, which is considered some of the best in Southern Australia. Len’s son Ken initially continued the tradition, but then started redesigning the family’s vineyard areas. In the 1960s and 1970s, he replaced the old Palomino and Doradillo vines with Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Chardonnay. That was very far-sighted. Only 25% of the grapes from these older vines are used for the best wines of Lake Breeze – complexity guaranteed!
In 1987, the first vintage of the Lake Breeze wines was ready. The company’s flagship wine
“Bernoota”, a blend made from Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, was named after the family’s estate, whose name comes from the language of the Aboriginals. Bernoota means something like “the house that stands between the gum trees”. On the occasion of its 25th anniversary in 2012, a special contest was held: “Where do you drink your ‘Bernoota’?” Lake Breeze customers took pictures that prove where in the world they enjoyed the wine: In Mongolia, on Java, on top of the Matterhorn, in Bilbao, and of course many places in Australia.
Ken Follett continues to live with his wife Marlene at Bernoota. They have five children: three sons and two daughters. The three sons Greg, Roger, and Tim jointly manage the 90-hectare vineyard. Greg makes the wines, Roger manages sales, and Tim is in charge of the vines. A perfect separation of duties, this family produces results – the wines – that continue to receive international awards.