Where to begin? Top tips for visiting wineries for the first time


Where to begin?

Top tips for visiting wineries for the first time

Visiting a wine region can be a daunting task. It might be the thought of wine tasting at a cellar door for the first time or the sheer volume of wineries that call this region home! To get the best out of any wine region you need to be realistic with the time you’ve got, do your research, try what you like and sometimes what you think you don’t.

The beauty of any trip is not just reaffirming your love of a particular varietal or going to the source of a brand you’ve been loyal to from afar. It’s also making discoveries and building new memories and associations. As part of our Margaret River Makers video series we got the lowdown from winemakers on how to get the best out of Margaret River.

Brian Devitt, Co-founder, Ashbrook Estate

“You get all sorts at the cellar door. Some people have very little knowledge but try to give you the impression they have a lot of knowledge and of course some people will have a lot of knowledge and be happy to tell you all about it. But for the majority of people a cellar door is a confronting experience because they are frightened they might be asked a question about the wine and they won’t know what to say. In Margaret River the whole idea of the cellar door experience is to make sure when people come in they are made to feel welcome and comfortable. We don’t want to intimidate people or make them feel nervous about their experience. We want them to have a really good time and share our knowledge of the wine with them and answer any questions. People shouldn’t be afraid to ask.”

Kate Morgan, Winemaker, Ipso Facto

“Taste everything you can. Learn to spit. It really will allow you to taste and learn more. Talk to everyone you can. Get their recommendations and learn what you like. Don’t be closed off, walking into a cellar door saying “I don’t like Chardonnay” because as a region we have so many styles of Chardonnay. Even if you just stick your nose in a glass and smell it you might surprise yourself.”

Virginia Willcock, Winemaker, Vasse Felix

“Certainly the cellar doors are so generous with their tastings. When you come down to MR you can actually go from cellar door to cellar door and taste every single wine they have to offer and find your feet. Find what you love in this region and there will be something. Whether its a SBS, a Chardonnay, whether its from that producer or this producer. The Cabernet from one producer might be a bigger style that you prefer or you might find a more elegant one down the road that you find to be gorgeous. When you come to Margaret River you have to open your mind and taste every single wine that you can possibility get your hands on because it will train your aroma memory and your palate memory of what this region is about. When you leave Margaret River and you have a bottle of our wine it should transcend you back to this region because you’ll have that beautiful aroma memory of what you tasted.”

Bruce Dukes, Winemaker, Domaine Naturaliste

“It’s quite easy in a single day to start exploring wineries in Yallingup and then onto Wilyabrup and then Wallcliffe and to the very south of our region in Karridale. Simply by going and tasting a variety of different wines at different cellar doors you can build up this wonderful map of the characters of the area and that’s one of the really important things to me.”

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Author Max Brearley

Max Brearley is a food writer, critic, consultant and host working with The Australian, The Guardian, Halliday, Margaret River Gourmet Escape, Truffle Kerfuffle, Conde Nast Traveller and delicious. to name just a few. A passion for a good yarn and great produce has seen him forage for native foods in the north west of WA, follow abalone from ocean to plate in the south west and dig for black truffles in the towering Southern Forests. He’s also been known to cast a critical eye over a meal or two for The Australian’s annual Hot 50 Restaurants and delicous., as well as producing written, visual and event content for organisations across Australia and globally. Whilst a proud Yorkshireman; he’s been moving south for much of his life. Relocating from London to Perth in 2012, a move to the southwest soon followed, where life girt by sea and vines is more than agreeable. Instagram: @max_brearley / Twitter: @maxbrearley / Web: maxbrearley.com

One Comment

  • John Corderoy says:

    Visiting the area next week and looking forward to visiting some new and familiar wineries

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