Meet the Margaret River Maker: Eloise Jarvis from La Kooki

In this series, we chat to the makers behind some exciting small-batch labels in the Margaret River Wine Region, who, whilst honouring the region's hero grape varieties, are challenging the boundaries with new wine styles and approaches. La Kooki is the label of Eloise Jarvis and Glenn Goodall, 2023 Halliday Wine Companion Winemaker of the Year. Through La Kooki, they tap into, and explore their creative winemaking ideas. The resulting wines have been met with tremendous acclaim from the critics.

We caught up with Eloise, to learn more about the approach to La Kooki and in the process, collected some great local tips for exploring the Margaret River Wine Region.


What makes your wines unique?

We approach each season for La Kooki with a sense of opportunity, curiosity and playfulness. We don’t grow our own fruit, so whether it’s working with new blocks of fruit or varieties, we are open to the opportunities put in front of us through the connections we have with people (grapegrowers) throughout the southwest wine regions.

Curiosity and the ‘what ifs’ have resulted in some beautiful wines, such as our Boya Chardonnay, where we use stones to top the barrels and then roll them to stir the lees. Playfulness arises when opportunity gave us Vermentino and Tempranillo that we co-fermented, following whole-bunch carbonic maceration of the Vermentino for 10 days to create a light-medium bodied red, perfect for drinking chilled over summer.

Sometimes we keep it simple because it works – our Rosé Blonde made from Pinot Noir has been sourced from Thompson Estate vineyard since we started in 2017, topped and stirred each year with the previous season’s Chardonnay lees. It is proudly one of our first two Sustainable Winegrowing Australia Certified wines.

There are no rules, we follow our instincts, exploring what will work with that parcel of fruit.


What's your favourite Margaret River 'alternative' style to make and why?

Alternative vs creative style? I don’t know that we have favourites – with each wine we aim to make them eminently drinkable.


Why do you like making wine in Margaret River?

What’s not to love? The maritime climate and ancient soils are perfect for grape growing. The lifestyle, community and region are even better for raising a family. We are in one of the most pristine wine regions in the world, able to grow nearly any variety we wish, surrounded by an incredibly rich biodiversity found nowhere else and an awesome coastline. And we get to make wine here? Pinch me!


What's your favourite place to eat in Margaret River and why?

It depends entirely on the occasion – our deck at home is pretty awesome when the feast is fresh caught Blue Swimmer crabs, squid or abalone.

We are so lucky that there are many brilliant chefs, cafes, restaurants, taverns, and food vans that have made Margaret River home, celebrating the region’s fresh produce in many different ways. What we love even more is the support between the wine and food industries. An awesome, revolving mix of local wines can be found on all their wine lists, which I guess shows that we are all proudly Margaret River.


What's your favourite nature based activity or place in the region and why?

We love the ocean, especially fishing in our tinnie and mountain bike riding together. Mr Kooki loves to surf – The Small World Wave Tour – and Mrs Kooki loves bush walks and wildflower season. The Cape-to-Cape track ticks so many of these boxes. To name a favourite is so hard – Kilcarnup Beach, Eagle Bay, Boranup Forest, Gnoocardup Beach, Hardy Inlet in Augusta, Jedi mountain bike trail...  it’s endless and they’re all good.