New Kid on the Block: Nikola Estate

New Kid on the Block: Nikola Estate

I was saddened when Houghton closed down their Swan Valley operations and sold off the winery. So much of Western Australia’s winemaking history can be linked to the winery and the people who have worked there.

But commercial realities resulted in Houghton consolidating all WA winemaking to their facilities in Nannup.

This presented an opportunity for the Yukich family to step in and establish a new venture on the site. And so started Nikola Estate, named in honour of Nikola Yukich, who planted his first vineyard in the Valley in 1929, a few years after arriving in Australia from Croatia.

After the inaugural vintage (2019) was produced by sister winery Oakover, the 2020 vintage was produced on site by former Millbrook winemaker Damien Hutton.

With the financial backing of the Yukich family, Damien has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a first-rate winemaking operation.

Early results look very promising!


Nikola Estate– Frankland River – Riesling – 2021. The bright lime-like fruit has a zesty tang with piercing acidity running the length of the palate. A very smart wine but needs a few months to settle down. 93+pts – $30.

Nikola Estate – Sauvignon Blanc – 2020. This is quite a complex wine. There is the grassy, herbaceous characters typical of the variety, followed by layers of winemaking inputs courtesy of subtle barrel ferment and lees contact. This is not for everyone, but it is an excellent example of the white Bordeaux style. 91pts – $21.

Nikola Estate – Chenin Blanc – 2020 . I like this a lot. Vibrant fruit with gentle floral aromatics. The palate is crisp and fresh, with textural components adding depth and mouthfeel. Long, gentle viscosity, but near seamless plate transition. Age-worthy to boot. Quality fruit. 92pts – $21.

Nikola Estate – Tempranillo – 2020. Fragrant, ripe and very pretty. The pure fruit continues on the palate, with the variety’s trademark gravelly tannins quickly building on the finish. Crianza in style, the oak adding savoury notes and texture rather than overt flavour. A great match for osso bucco but also worthy of a few years in the cellar. 93pts – $35.

Nikola Estate – Frankland River (white label) – Shiraz – 2020. What a lovely wine. Bright plum fruit with pepper and spice on the nose. The palate is fleshy and totally delicious. Soft, enveloping fruit, with gentle structure adding depth. A great drinking wine for a BBQ or pasta night. 93pts – $30