Howard Park celebrates a 20 year milestone in Margaret River

  • Howard Park

2020 marks an auspicious year for Howard Park, which celebrates 20 years since the opening of its Margaret River Cellar Door.

The architectural landmark has won numerous accolades through the years, and the Burch family are thrilled to celebrate the home of their winery and its history.

The Cellar Door opened its doors on February 6, 2000, being hailed as one of the top 12 buildings in Australia by the Sydney Morning Herald and receiving a Commendation from the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. Its form has stood the test of time, with the Howard Park Cellar Door remaining one of the foremost architectural destinations of the Margaret River region.

“The first day we opened, we had just laid lawn the day beforehand,” said owner Amy Burch, who was instrumental in designing & driving the construction project.

“We wanted it to be ready for summer. The response from the public was amazing. People came in their numbers – at times it was 5 deep around the bar. It was marvellous that such a new modern building was so accepted in the region.”

The company still has one of those original Cellar Door staff members working behind the bar today.

Howard Park Cellar Door Interior

In 2000, according to Amy, there were not as many wineries or new cellar doors around the region and the locals accepted the Howard Park creation with approval.

“The space is still relevant. When we opened it was one of the longest bars in Margaret River and it probably still is. Everyone who visits for a tasting has our individual attention,” said Amy.

Jeff & Amy Burch had just begun to dip their toes into the world of wine when they hosted summer tastings at their Yallingup home in 1986, pending bad surf. The regular Saturday occurrence nurtured their burgeoning passion alongside notable luminaries like Kevin, Di & Vanya Cullen, the Brocksoffs from Leeuwin Estate, Anna Killerby and her husband Matt Aldridge , Ron Laughton from Jasper Hill and the Lewis family from Cape Clairault.

This led to extensive research ahead of the purchase of the Miamup Road property in 1988 – a site that had been viewed by John Gladstones as having the potential to produce exceptional Margaret River Cabernet, and had a fair amount of local viticultural interest, due to its natural slopes, water access and suitable soils.

Howard Park Cellar Door

The property was used for dairy farming when it was bought by the Burch Family in 1988, with the view to transform it into a vineyard in the future.  Jeff Burch’s father, Leston, helped plant some of the first vines on site at this time, and the vineyard is named in his honour.

The Cellar Door has been host to numerous events large and small, bringing together the Margaret River community. From hosting Li Cunxin's book launch with an Avant Garde nude ballet performance; hosting Tropfest screenings over 10 years for crowds of 700 at a time; running countless art exhibitions, with the likes of famous surf photographer John Witzig; bringing author Alexander McCall Smith down to the local region, and holding performances by the Australian Symphony Orchestra; through to the present day Oysters & Riesling weekend, which is a mainstay of Margaret River’s summer calendar.

Visit our cellar door