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Wineries

Your Margaret River Region Wineries.

From the first commercial vineyard planting in Margaret River in 1967, the region’s natural assets have blended with the ability of the vignerons and winemakers to create a wine region that is one of the best on the planet.

A relatively small producer of Australian wine, the region produces a massive 20% of Australia’s premium wine. The pristine environment and the many micro climates ensure that every wine is special but not one is the same. A journey through Margaret River’s premium wine region is sophisticated yet relaxed, authentic and unique. Meandering from cellar door to cellar door is easy and spectacular with vistas of farmland, wine country and the coast. If you have a look at the Margaret River wineries list you’ll find over 95 cellar doors.

The diversity ranges from farm-style to architecturally elaborate, many of which have casual cafés ranging to world-class restaurants. Take a quick look at the regional map and you’ll see that the cellar doors are easy to find and close together. Or totally immerse yourself in the wine region with a night or two at some of the winery accommodation on offer. All of this is easy to get to as it is only 3 hours’ drive south of Perth.

Bushtucker tours Nov – Dec: Family

WATCH: ‘The Winemaker’ film series

Go behind the scenes with three extraordinary winemakers to uncover stories of perseverance and passion

How it all started

During the 1960’s Dr. John Gladstones, an agronomist with the Western Australian Department of Agriculture, identified the area around Margaret River and northwards as far as Yallingup and Vasse as sites for a premium wine region. Gladstones held a public meeting in Busselton in 1966 and later the next year in 1967, cardiologist Dr. Tom Cullity planted the first commercial vineyard at Vasse Felix, Margaret River.

Land approximately three hours south of Perth and west of the line of longitude 115° 18′ east is in the Margaret River Wine Region. This area is defined by Gladstones Line(pictured) and the coast.

Founding wineries of the region appeared in the 1970’s and it seemed to be a trendy business to get into if you were a doctor! The Margaret River Wine Industry Association (known then as the Margaret River Grape Growers & Winemakers Association) was founded in the late 1970’s and was incorporated in 1982.

Today there are over 215 wine producers ranging from niche growers producing 3.5 tonnes to the largest growers producing approximately 10,000 tonnes.

Gladstones Line

As one of the world’s most isolated and pure wine regions in the world, Your Margaret River Region is characterised by superb growing conditions for many wine grape varieties.

Grape Growing Conditions

Defined as a Mediterranean climate the region enjoys similar growing conditions to that of Bordeaux but has the added benefit of being influenced by the Indian Ocean, Southern Ocean and Geographe Bay. This maritime influence on three sides of the region tempers extremes of weather, creating mild wet winters and warm dry summers.

The region has mild ripening conditions which is also very important for wine quality. The prevailing weather travels across thousands upon thousands of kilometres of pristine ocean, ensuring that the weather is nothing but pure. The soils are diverse from sandy Jindong soils to the gravelly loams undulating through the Wilyabrup Valley. These contribute to the ‘terroir’ of the region and allow the vines to be well drained and thrive.

Many micro-climates ensure that every wine is special but not one is the same. All of this characterises the Margaret River Wine Region as an excellent wine growing region which consistently produces high quality grapes from which it produces premium wine.

Margaret River Wine Region is internationally recognised as a premium producer of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. It also produces a signature style of wine with the blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.

Wines of the region

Reds

  • Cabernet Sauvignon – Wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon were the first to win acclaim in the Margaret River Wine Region for their consistent high quality. Virtually every winery produces a Cabernet, although Merlot is an increasingly common blend component.
  • Shiraz – There was some conjecture within the Australian wine industry about the future of Shiraz in the Margaret River Wine Region with results of late solidly indicating it has a true home here. Various styles can be present with everything from medium bodied spice and pepper to rich full bodied fruit driven wines available.

Whites

  • Chardonnay – Chardonnay seems to acquire a unique extra dimension in the Margaret River Wine Region. The varying range of this particular style of wine is usually a pleasant surprise for visitors to the area.
  • Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon – Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are aromatic varieties producing white wines with fresh citrus, lemon blossom and stone fruit flavours. Sauvignon Blanc Blanc is also known for its herbaceous characters. The intensity and elegance are hallmarks of these blends from the Margaret River Wine Region.

Wines emerging in the region are Verdelho and Pinot Noir (for sparkling wine production), Pinot Gris and Tempranillo.

When the grapes reach optimal flavour and sugar maturity, known as baume, the grapes are harvested. This occurs in late summer to early autumn and is a very busy time in the vineyards, especially in the early hours of the morning!

The year in wine

Spring

Spring brings warmer temperatures which see the grapevines break their dormancy. Known as ‘bud burst’, bright lime green shoots emerge from the vine’s buds. Grapevines are now actively undertaking the ‘grand period of growth’ where masses of shoot and leaf material is produced. In late spring, the grapevines produce inflorescence that flower to produce grapes.

Summer & Autumn

During mid to late summer the grapes go through a ripening process known as veraison where the sugars accumulate, berries soften and red varieties begin to colour. When the grapes reach optimal flavour and sugar maturity, known as baume, the grapes are harvested. This occurs in late summer to early autumn and is a very busy time in the vineyards, especially in the early hours of the morning! Grapes for sparkling wine production, such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, are harvested earlier at a lower sugar maturity, than those grapes used to produce dry red wines that are harvested later.

Winter

After harvest, the vines are maintained so that they can store reserves and enter dormancy for winter. Then everyone has a big rest!

Does it make your mouth dry, are there chewy or grippy tannins on the palate? Wine aroma and flavour is diverse, so think about what comes to mind and you’ll probably be right!

So how do you really taste wine?

The first thing is to take a look at the colour of the wine. Are the whites a light straw colour, or golden yellow? Are the reds a pale red or rich burgundy, plum or dark red? Next smell the wine and think about what aromas come to mind. Then have a taste, push the wine to the front of your mouth then back to get the most out of it and think of the texture. Does it make your mouth dry, are there chewy or grippy tannins on the palate? Wine aroma and flavour is diverse, so think about what comes to mind and you’ll probably be right! Remember it’s best to taste the wines in the order they’re presented and if you’re not sure about anything ask the knowledgeable cellar door staff.

When you find a wine that you just love you can buy a bottle then and there – or if you don’t want to carry it around, ask if the winery offers a home delivery service. With over 95 cellar doors open for tasting and sales the best tool to plan your wine tasting journey is with the Margaret River wineries map.

Photo: the perfect wine spit by Fraser Gallop Estate winemaker Kate Morgan, captured by The Margaret River Discovery Co.

margaret river discovery co

At some wineries you can taste a pre-release wine, museum wines, and increase your appreciation with barrel room and tutored tastings.

So much more at the cellar door

There’s so much more you can do at the cellar door. At some wineries, the person behind the cellar door may just be the winemaker. You might like to theme your visit to the region specifically tasting particular wine varieties (known as varietal tasting) and experiencing the different subtleties between the different wineries.

You might like to book in for a vertical tasting offered at some wineries. This is where you taste the same wine but different vintages, discovering the nuances of growing season conditions, style evolution, wine making variations and bottle age.

At some wineries you can taste a pre-release wine, museum wines, and increase your appreciation with barrel room and tutored tastings.

And for the ultimate Your Margaret River Region food and wine experience, indulge in a degustation with sommelier matched wines.

Fraser Gallop Estate

Your Margaret River Region Wine Stories

Wine & Wineries
21/11/2017

Wine voices – Brendan Carr, Winemaker, Xanadu Wines

“I've done so many vintages around the world travelling around North America, South America, Europe, New Zealand, all these places and really it's a good way to go travelling. You meet all the local crew, drink the local booze, eat the local food, learn all…
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Wine & Wineries
15/11/2017

Wine voices – Karen Gough, Co-owner, Settler’s Tavern

“It’s a big circle really; at the Tav (Settler’s Tavern) we have loads of wine industry people; winemakers, all the second winemakers and the people doing vintage. They’re keen to try everything we’ve got. When we first came here you could only get Margaret River…
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Wine & Wineries
08/11/2017

Wine voices – Andrew Watson, Woodlands Wine

“For a wine to be great it has to do something for the mind; it has to refresh the mind. A well-crafted example of a style or a different take on a style; a beautiful, artisanal, pristine, hand crafted wine. To be a great wine…
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Wine & Wineries
31/10/2017

The Brookwood Estate Labour of Love

“This is delicious – and this is yummy too – I love all these wines!” says the lady tasting wines at Brookwood’s rustic cellar door. It’s music to owner-operator Lyn Mann’s ears, as it’s cellar door visitors, not wine critics, she wants to impress. “Back…
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Eat & DrinkWine & Wineries
27/10/2017

The local chefs taking a starring role at Gourmet Escape

Tori Wilson spent a little time finding out about a few of the local chefs to be featured at Gourmet Escape and a couple of things were clear. Their deep passions for the region’s local land and produce tie them together while their own distinctive…
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Wine & Wineries
23/10/2017

Vanya Cullen, The Winemaker

As we release the next in the our series The Winemaker, Max Brearley profiles Vanya Cullen - Owner, Managing Director and Chief Winemaker at Cullen Wines. Watch the full length film below for a glimpse of one of Margaret River’s most renowned winemakers. Click the edit…
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Eat & DrinkWine & Wineries
18/10/2017

What’s on at the Gourmet Village?

Maybe it’s live music you are chasing, you might just want the complete food experience, or you could be there to catch a celebrity. Whatever your interest, the 2017 Gourmet Village has got you covered. This year you can find a plethora of activities to…
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Insiders’ Information

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