Cellar_UndergroundJohn Kosovich Wines was established in 1922 by John’s father Lile (aka Jack) and his brothers, who emigrated from Croatia shortly before the outbreak of World War 1.

After working cutting railway sleepers in the states South West and then in the gold mines of Kalgoorlie, Lile purchased the property in 1922. Several of the original vines planted in that year still grace the entrance to the winery and front of the property.

Lile (Jack) Kosovich circa 1980

The underground cellar, which is still used today as our tasting room,  was dug by Lile and his brothers with help form neighbours and their trusty draft horses to do the bulk of the heavy moving. An impressive 7m long White Gum beam was cut from a tree felled by Lile in the hills east of the property and remains the main supporting structure for the cellar roof today. The broad axe that was used by Lile to shape the beam hangs from it today.

In 1953, at the tender age of 15, John took over the role of winemaker, more by necessity than a conscious decision due to the failing health of Lile. In the early days sweet whites (sherry) sold to the Aussies and some ‘rough red’ that found its way to the local Croatian and European community remained the staple of the business.

John realised that these wines were not right for the Perth climate, and in the early 1960’s made the bold move to change the vineyard to begin producing dry white wine. Riesling was one of the first new varieties planted, with Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Verdelho following.

The winery operated under the name Westfield Wines up until 2003 when the decision was made to change the name to honour John Kosovich’s 50th vintage and outstanding career as a winemaker.

In 1995 John Kosovich was awarded the Order of Australia medal for his contribution to the wine industry.  In 2004 he won the prestigious Jack Mann Medal for services to the Western Australian wine industry and in that same year the winery was awarded the Best West Australian Small Producer at the Perth Royal Wine.

In 2000 Johns son Anthony (Arch) took over as winemaker.  Arch had worked alongside his father for several years before taking on the role of senior winemaker and carefully crafts the wines, bringing modern flair whilst retaining the values and standards that have been synonymous with our wines for may decades.