The annual Halliday Wine Companion Awards are out of the cellar, and this year the Margaret River Region has put together a palate of standout wineries, viticulturists and winemakers that definitively made the grade. Now its up to you to come and see what all the fuss is about. Make it a long weekend down south, and spend three days exploring these Halliday-anointed wineries. Or DIY a list of your favourites and spread the experience over a few, single day trips. This is one series of adventures where the designated driver definitely draws the short straw.
Halliday’s Long Weekend Wine Tasting Trail
Deep Woods Estate
Runner Up: Best Value Winery
Heading north to south, first stop on the drive down from the Big Smoke is Yallingup’s Deep Woods Estate, recognised by Halliday as a runner up in Best Value Winery category. Deep Woods is known for its Cabernet Sauvignon, made by 2019 Halliday Companion Winemaker of the Year, Julian Langworthy. This winery is one of the well-known Wilyabrup area highlights, tucked off Caves Road and guaranteeing an extraordinary taste of the region’s twin ruling grapes – Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Not one to miss.
We’re off to a flying start.
Runner Up: Winery of the Year
Just a few minutes down Caves Road you’ll get an equally elegant experience of Wilyabrup wine country at Moss Wood, where visits must be made by prior arrangement. To forget to plan in advance would mean missing tastes of the 2020 Halliday Companion Best Chardonnay, awarded to the Moss Wood 2017 Chardonnay vintage, along with its Moss Wood 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, which was awarded Halliday Wine Companion 2021 “Best of the Best” varietal Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery itself was a runner up in this year’s Winery of the Year award.
Viticulturalist of the Year
The Halliday Wine Companion podium is no stranger to Vanya Cullen at Cullen Wines, who this year takes home top honours as the Halliday Wine Companion 2022 Viticulturist of the Year, after winning Winemaker of the Year in Halliday’s 2020 award listings. Cullen Wines is also a 2022 Halliday Companion Winery of the Year Runner-up. As a viticulturist and winemaker, Vanya’s magic is to allow the land to speak for itself through the grape. In agricultural terms, this means a dedication to biodynamic and organic practice that has seen Cullen recognised as Australia’s first carbon negative winery.
Finish the day here with a late lunch to matched wines and an exploration of the spiral garden with its biodynamic information trail.
Runner Up: Best Value Winery
To hear that Stella Bella has placed as a Runner-Up in the highly competitive 2022 Halliday Wine Companion Awards Best Value Winery category should come as no surprise to lovers of this Margaret River Region winery: off the beaten track between tall trees and lines of vines in the township of Rose Brook, chief winemaker Luke Jolliffe has made sure that this is not a cellar door stop to miss. Last year’s Halliday Awards saw the team take away the award for Australia’s Best Varietal for Semillon Sauvignon blends, and the Stella Bella Cab Sav tells a textured tale of the region.
Runner Up: Winemaker of the Year & Best Value Winery
A ten-minute drive back into town will take you to one of the region’s big hitters, Xanadu, a winery that is a perennial favourite with the wine industry’s award-giving set. In 2022, Winemaker Glenn Goodall has been singled out as a Halliday Wine Companion Awards Winemaker of the Year Runner-up, as well as scoring a Runner-up slot for Best Value Winery. It’s the sort of attention we’ve become used to this deserving winery receiving. Xanadu makes a great stop #2 on day two of our regional winery tour, not just for the chance to taste the highly awarded Cabernet Sauvignon made by one of Australia’s top winemakers, but because the beautiful winery restaurant offers the opportunity to taste the wine with matched food and attentive service.
South by South West Wines
Runner Up: Dark Horse Winery
It makes sense that the Dark Horse Winery Runner up in the 2022 Halliday Wine Companion Awards is the boutique label of Liv Maiorana and Mijan Patterson, South by South West Wines. There’s no cellar door. No grand winery. Just a couple of committed winemakers and friends producing small batch goodness in the traditional way of the boutique wine artisan. Though you will certainly find Chardonnay under the South by South West umbrella, there’s a lot of discovery to be had in their more unusual varietals. Liv and Mij’s wines are stocked at local Margaret River Region wine retailers, so visit a store on your way home and make this an end-of-day take home purchase. Nothing like a great glass to talk over the discoveries of the day.
Runner Up: New Winery
It seems fitting that this small winery with its new Cowaramup-based cellar door run by a young couple, their small team and the winery Kelpie x Border Collie has been singled out as Runner-up in the 2022 Halliday Wine Companion New Winery category. Next door to the Cowaramup Brewery, LS Merchants is part of a group of hospitality, winery and food businesses turning Cowie (as the town of Cowaramup is affectionately known) into a hub for talented and driven food and wine innovators. LS Merchants recommend cellar door bookings. We recommend not missing out.
McHenry Hohen Vintners
Runner Up: Winery of the Year
There’s a little bit more distance between stops today, but the mileage is worth it. Finish the day south in Witchcliffe with a drop past the McHenry Hohnen Vintners cellar door to see that recognition as a Winery of the Year Runner-up is far more about integrity than flash: while there are larger, more glamorous cellar doors scattered around the region, this taste of Margaret River wine is all about heritage and terroir. Learn about the biodynamically farmed vineyard while experiencing this winery’s take on the region’s classic grape varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay among them.