Leading developer Tony Poli will this month open his Margaret River winery Altair Estate, which forms the fifth arm of a sprawling property empire with more than $1 billion of development in the works. Mr Poli’s privately-owned Aigle Royal Group bought Carpe Diem winery on Johnson Road, Wilyabrup, from Gianfranco and Francesco Anderle, settling last year for $3.5 million. Altair wines have just started trickling into shops and restaurants, with the cellar door to open to the public later this month following a $500,000 refurbishment and equipment upgrade. Mr Poli said the 30ha Altair Estate was partly a passion project involving 10 varietals over 12ha, which he said are quintessential to the Margaret River region and Italy. “They are like my children — the varietals,” he said. However, he said it was partly a profit-driven endeavour, claiming he believes the region still has a long way to go before it realises its true value. “If you look overseas at France, Italy and the US, I think there is a wonderful opportunity here,” he said. “The grapes are too cheap and it has good quality wine — which is too cheap — which is great for the consumer.” Altair Estate produced 120,000kg of grapes last year, selling 100,000 and keeping the remainder for its own small batch, sustainably produced wine. The former resource magnate follows other rich listers into the Margaret River, with businessman Andrew Forrest’s Cape Lodge and the Wright family’s Voyager Estate earlier treading the path from resources to property and wine. Property developer Peter Laurance sold out of Laurance Wines to US Mogul Howard Milstein in 2017 for $20m, while developer Luke Saraceni was forced to sell his 40ha Saracen Estate in 2012 when his assets were put into receivership. But Mr Poli expects he won’t compete on quantity but will keep pace with the big players with “niche, high-quality wines”, led by winemaker Josh Vince. He said Altair won’t be vulnerable to what he claims is a key reason for failure in the sector — undercapitalisation. Altair is a nod to Aquila, the name of the resources company where he made his money, as the name of the brightest star in the Aquila constellation. Aigle Royal confirmed the total sales value of its five retail centres in development, as well as its 1265 blocks currently on the market, and a further 2350 lots to sell soon, exceeds an impressive $1 billion.