EXPLORE WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Your guide to the best flavours from the winegrowing regions.

"Margaret River is the undisputed wine capital of WA."

In 1834 the WA wine industry began in the Swan Valley, now in the suburbs of Perth. Today the warm region has been joined by picturesque Margaret River and the sprawling Great Southern as the state has emerged as a premium player in recent years. The Swan still produces dessert wines but the focus now is on the cabernet sauvignonschardonnays and sauvignon blanc/semillon blends from Margaret River, 260 kilometres south, and from the even more remote Great Southern, which encompasses several sub-regions and a wide range of styles. While Houghton and Sandalford maintain cellar doors in the Swan, the popular coastal region of Margaret River, where pioneering wineries such as CullenMoss WoodVasse Felix, Cape Mentelle and Leeuwin Estate have built global reputations, is the undisputed wine capital of WA. The Great Southern, which radiates outwards from Mount Barker, includes star riesling producer Frankland Estate along with Plantagenet and West Cape Howe.

MEET THE WINEMAKER

Virginia Willcock

The Vasse Felix Chief Winemaker shares her insider's guide to the best of Margaret River.

Read the Q&A with Virginia Willcock>

Margaret River

A three-hour drive south of Perth, Margaret River is one of Australia’s most stunning wine regions – both visually and because of the quality of wines produced in a maritime climate that is similar to Bordeaux. The overall production may be small but Margaret River accounts for more than 15 per cent of Australia’s premium wines. Chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon are the star performers and sauvignon blanc/semillon and cabernet and blends have become the region’s signatures.

"The overall production may be small but Margaret River accounts for more than 15 per cent of Australia’s premium wines."

The big names include Voyager Estate, Leeuwin Estate, Vasse FelixCullen, Cape Mentelle, Howard Park, Devil’s Lair and Xanadu. With close to 100 wineries offering tastings it pays to allow plenty of time for leisurely exploration, particularly as the region covers over 100 kilometres in a narrow strip from north to south. Many of the top wineries have on-site restaurants. Most, however, are only open for lunch, or offer dinner only at weekends. Because of its many surf beaches, caves, lighthouses and other attractions, Margaret River is hugely popular with tourists.

MUST-VISIT CELLAR DOORS

Voyager Estate

One of the grandest cellar doors in a Cape

Dutch-style homestead surrounded by manicured

gardens. The Wine Room has a menu of tasting

options, while the restaurant serves degustation

menus with each course matched to a wine.

Cullen Wines

The mood is more relaxed at rustic and charming

carbon neutral and biodynamic producer Cullen

Wines, where cellar door sales and tastings are

available daily, along with full meals using organic

local produce, platters or just coffee and cake.

Vasse Felix

Vineyard & winemaking tours are an option on

weekdays, all tasting are complimentary and there

is a lovely restaurant overlooking the region's

oldest vines, where you can take in the sweeping

views of Margaret Rivers's pristine landscape.

Great Southern

For decades, the warm Swan Valley was Western Australia's best-known wine region but it has been left in the wake of cooler Margaret River and the Great Southern, which is both one of the largest wine regions in the country in terms of size, and one of the most remote. With a range of climatic conditions, the Great Southern produces outstanding shirazcabernet sauvignon and merlot. Riesling, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc are the main white varieties and the Frankland River, Mount Barker and the Porongurup sub-regions have built formidable reputations for the quality of their rieslings, which are usually made in a crisp, dry style.

"With a range of climatic conditions, the Great Southern produces outstanding shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and merlot."

The five major wine sub-regions are Albany, Mount Barker, Frankland River, Denmark and the Porongurups. Key producers include Howard Park/MadfishHarewood Estate, Singlefile, Frankland EstateAlkoomi, Plantagenet, West Cape Howe and Dukes. There are also dozens of small producers like Oranje Tractor and Castle Rock producing wines of high quality.

MUST-VISIT CELLAR DOORS

Alkoomi

Alkoomi Wines has two cellar doors, one located in

Frankland River and the other in Albany. Their wines

are known to have intense varietal character due to

the long, cool ripening conditions during production.

Frankland Estate

Frankland Estate was founded in 1988 where they

established vineyards on Isolation Ridge. The

cellar door can be found on the vineyard where

you can sample their organic wines and their

renowned riesling.

Dukes

Duke's established vineyards in 1999 with their

first riesling, cabernet sauvignon and spicy shiraz.

The cold climate region produces soft reds and

premium reisling. Make sure to visit the cellar

door and enjoy panoramic views of the vineyard.

DISCOVER MORE ABOUT EACH STATE AND THEIR WINE REGIONS

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Licence Number: LIQP770016736

We acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work, live and fly. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.