Enjoying a glass of Pet Nat at the Marri Wood Park cellar door in Yallingup

If you’re reading this, collecting inspiration for your next trip, you’ve likely already enjoyed the fine wine, hospitality and art collections of the region’s best known wineries.

Vasse Felix, Cullen Wine, Voyager Estate et al offer incredible experiences, but curious wine lovers are rewarded for taking the quiet back roads, searching for the secret cellar doors of the Margaret River Region. Some of these cellar doors are small and it’s a good idea to book ahead, especially if you’re visiting as a group, and expect to pay a small fee which is usually refundable against a bottle purchase. Add a cheese and charcuterie platter to a seated wine tasting, and it feels a lot like a mini-degustation.

Here are thirteen splendid secret cellar doors, and there’s plenty more to find for yourself. If you love these recommendations ask them for their favourites, and pick up a map from the Busselton or Margaret River visitor centres.

Marri Wood Park Winery Photo Credit Ryan Murphy
Marri Wood Park, a hidden gem worth discovering. Photo credit Ryan Murphy.

Marri Wood Park, Yallingup

Biodynamic and Animal Encounters

Set amongst natural bush atop their biodynamic, family-run vineyard, Marri Wood Park is a hidden gem worth discovering. Book ahead to be greeted with a complimentary cheese platter, or just drop in! You might spot their friendly alpaca Paris and the roaming guinea fowls.

The biodynamic philosophy of the winery utilises sustainable practices: no chemicals, no pesticides, no irrigation and no fertilisers. The result is hardy vines that produce high quality, robust and delicious grapes.

Love Marri Wood Park? Visit Arimia EstateWindows EstateCape Grace Wines or Burnside Organic Farm. 

Victory Point Wines, Cowaramup

Sit Back and Savour the View

If you’re looking for one of the best vineyard vistas in the Margaret River Region, then Victory Point in Cowaramup is your spot. Despite relative isolation atop its view-soaked perch, it’s a hidden gem where they make plenty of award winning wines, including some of the best rosé in WA.

Entrance into Rivendell Estate, a secret cellar door in Yallingup.
The entrance into Rivendell Estate is full of charm and character. Photo: Supplied by Rivendell Estate.

Rivendell, Yallingup

Secret Spot with Sprawling Gardens

Roll out the picnic rug and laze the afternoon away at Rivendell, a secret spot in Yallingup.

Offering a great selection of cheese, meats and olives to accompany your wine, you can also browse a range of locally made art and produce. Four-legged friends and children are welcome with sprawling gardens to keep everyone entertained.

Rivendell is also a very popular wedding location, with the large grounds providing a stunning backdrop to your photos.

Gralyn Estate

An Original Wilyabrup Gem

Twisting the wrought iron latch and entering through the heavy wooden door at Gralyn Estate feels like a discovery of a place from a bygone era. First opened in 1978, the underground cellar is where the owners, Scott and Annette, of the family-run estate hold their new premium wine tasting experience. Designed to be intimate, wine lovers are taken behind the scenes and treated to the rare opportunity to taste museum wines dating back to 1980.

Lawn at Thompson Estate cellar door in Wilyabrup, with sculptures on the lawn.
Enjoy the wines at Thompson Estate before taking in the sculptures on the property. Photo: Supplied by Thompson Estate.

Thompson Estate

Taste in the Atmospheric Barrel Hall

This family-owned winery first planted their chardonnay and pinot grapes back in 1997, and since then Thompson Estate has consistently produced highly awarded wines.

Also at Thompson Estate is a sculpture walk featuring works by internationally acclaimed artists, acquired at Cottesloe’s Sculpture by the Sea.

Wise Wine, Eagle Bay

An Entertaining Tasting in a Working Distillery

Wise Wine has the region’s northernmost grape vines, and it’s one of the few vineyards with a dazzling ocean (or Eagle Bay) view. They added spirits to their line-up when distiller and former winemaker Greg Garnish joined the team.

“I was contract wine making for another winery when I made my first batch of pisco, a Peruvian spirit, and got four death threats. I thought it would be hilarious to make gin from gingin clone Chardonnay, and hence gin gingin was born” says Greg, who uses nine litres of Wise Wine chardonnay to make each litre of gin, and has won awards at the London Spirits Competition.

Weekend festivities were starting when we arrived on Friday afternoon, and Greg put on an entertaining tasting dotted with stories and jokes. The tasting room is also a working distillery, with pink strawberry gin being bottled by hand during our visit, and gin-soaked strawberries were included in the tasting.

You can sample the full range of Wise Wine including sparkling and premium drops before moving onto spirits and cocktails, with a fantastic view of both Eagle Bay and the still.

Bookings recommended for groups of 6 people or more.

Local produce grazing boards and minimal intervention wine at the Walsh & Sons cellar door.
Enjoy grazing boards and minimal intervention wines at the Walsh & Sons cellar door. Photo: Supplied by Walsh & Sons.

Walsh & Sons

Wine & Local Charcuterie

The Walsh & Sons cellar door on Caves Road may be a fairly new addition to the scene, but winemaking runs in the veins of the family behind it. The location is also home to free-range and handmade small goods butcher The Farm House, and it is highly recommended to add a Margaret River grazing box to your experience. The relaxed set up encourages lingering, and keep an eye out for regular food trucks parking up on the weekend.

The wine labels are also beautiful, keep an eye out for their collaborations with various artists.

Cape Naturaliste Vineyard

A True Wine Dog Welcome

Owner operators Jen and Craig Brent-White at Cape Naturaliste Vineyard not only have a terrific selection of current release and museum wine from their Yallingup property on show, there’s also an entire wall of the cellar door filled with polaroid’s of visiting dogs.

“Lots of these dogs have visited 20, 30 times,” says Jen. “On Saturday we had eight dogs at one stage!”

Well behaved dogs are welcome, and you’ll be greeted by their rescue dog Max who featured in the Wine Dogs Australia book. Jen is the volunteer treasurer and fundraising officer at the local SAFE branch (Saving Animals From Euthanasia).

All their wines are estate grown, with a hybrid biodynamic-organic approach in the vineyard. “We take the best bits of biodynamics and organics.”

Want to take your dog wine tasting? Let Grape Escape do the driving on their Pawesome Tours.

Domaine Naturaliste Charcuterie Wine
Domaine Naturaliste boasts a cellar door right next to the vines from which the grapes for the wines are produced. Photo: Supplied by Domaine Naturaliste.

Domaine Naturaliste

Surrounded By Vines

Bruce Dukes is bit of a rock star in the Margaret River winemaking world, and it’s not just his charm and good looks. He makes incredible wine for many of the big-name wineries, and after nearly three decades working with local producers he took the plunge to create his own wine, Domaine Naturaliste.

A few years ago Bruce took another leap, this time buying the old Knee Deep cellar door on Johnson Road, where his team present fantastic flights of wine in seated tastings with optional cheese and charcuterie platters, as well as the traditional stand up tasting experience.

Bookings for seated tastings recommended.

Love Domaine Naturaliste? Try Glenarty Road.

House of Cards

100% Organic Wine

There are plenty of options at this lovely estate; a seated or standing tasting, bring the kids and a picnic to enjoy with a bottle of House of Cards wine, or book a table at Chow’s Table next door.

It’s a family friendly, dog friendly space with a gorgeous native garden and veranda. There’s a huge lawn, a fig tree to climb and plenty of places to relax in the sunshine. The bar was buzzing with people tasting when we visited.

Liz, whose winemaker husband makes the batches, lets us in on one of their winemaking secrets. “Because we’re small, we can use some traditional methods like the basket press for our reds. Production is tiny – sometimes just two barrels of a wine.”

In happy news, they are now fully organic certified after many years of organic farming. Look out for live music and sundowners in summer.

Passel Estate’s Provenance Unearthed
Passel Estate offer a special wine and chocolate bonbons tasting experience. Photo: Supplied by Passel Estate.

Passel Estate

Protectors of Possums

A family (or passel) of critically endangered Western Ringtail Possums was relocated to Passel Estate following the 2011 Margaret River bushfires, and their important conservation work has continued.

The owners have launched a series of winery experiences, from guided tastings to wine sunsets and nature walks through the conservation sanctuary. A delectable food and wine pairing features handmade chocolate encased bonbons made by a local master chocolatier.

Testament to their commitment to this beautiful patch of wine paradise, part proceeds from each experience goes back to their conservation efforts.

Unfiltered enjoyment of "lo-fi" wines at Amato Vino's cosy Tasting Bar. Image supplied by Amato Vino.

Amato Vino

Power To The Wild Ferments

Amato Vino are small-batch artisan winemakers with a winemaking philosophy termed ‘lo-fi’, embracing wild-ferments, minimal adjustments in the winery, gentle handling and employing traditional processes.

Wines are typically unfined and unfiltered. An old-school approach yet with a modern flare for creativity and adventure. Amato wines are made from some eclectic and unusual grape varieties and winemaking methods as well as with traditional Margaret River varietals. The tasting bar is just down the road at the iconic “Darnell’s Trader” in Witchcliffe, and is a must-see, must-do on your journey of discovery of secret cellar doors.

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