Vines at Fraser Gallop. Credit Elements Margaret River

The wineries of Wilyabrup wind seamlessly along the northern parts of Caves Road between Capes Naturaliste and Leeuwin.

This fertile wine region’s proximity to the Indian Ocean provides ideal growing conditions for grapes in this rich Mediterranean climate that benefits from cooling maritime breezes and ancient, fertile soils that impart a unique terroir to this special place.

Named after the Wilyabrup Creek that flows through the many vineyards that blanket the region’s gentle slopes, this is a place where some of the world’s greatest Chardonnays and Cabernets are crafted.

Vasse Felix Vineyard Credit Russell Ord
Aerial shot of Vasse Felix, the region's founding winery. Photo credit: Russell Ord.

FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

When Dr John Gladstones’ report on the Margaret River Region was published in 1967, recognising the area’s vast potential for viticulture and its similar characteristics to the world’s best wine regions, it sparked considerable interest from budding vignerons.

The report’s findings set an enthusiastic cardiologist with a great appreciation of fine wines, Dr Tom Cullity, on a viticultural journey that required immense perseverance and foresight into what the region could become.

The first commercial grapevine plantings soon followed, and one of Margaret River’s chief founding wineries, Vasse Felix, was born. It all began with a mere eight-acres of land in Wilyabrup, with plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec and Riesling. By 1972, the Vasse Felix Riesling had won a gold medal at the Perth Show.

The undulating hills alongside tributaries to the Wilyabrup Creek and Big Brook were soon planted with grapevines by Moss Wood, Woodlands and Cullen wineries. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Vasse Felix, Wilyabrup
No visit to Margaret River is complete without a stop at Vasse Felix.

VASSE FELIX

No visit to Margaret River is complete without a stop at Vasse Felix. Whether it’s a casual cheese board by the lounge, an exquisitely curated a la carte dining experience at the restaurant, or a guided wine tasting at the cellar door. Venture into The Vault for a private tasting amongst its historic wine collection, which has the last remaining bottle of the 1972 Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec on display. Try the elegant and sophisticated Tom Cullity Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec which was made from those original vines. Finish your experience with a glass of wine and a stroll through the impressive art collection in its Art Gallery.

CULLEN WINES

This is where biodynamic farming began in Margaret River, under the meticulous care of Vanya Cullen and the Cullen family, who have been crafting premium wines in this region for over 50 years. This carbon-positive winery nurtures the soils and the vineyard’s unique terroir to produce an incredible range of wines that speak of the land, and of this special place that they call home.

Vintage at Fraser Gallop Estate, Wilyabrup
Vintage at Fraser Gallop Estate. Photo credit: Elements Margaret River.

FRASER GALLOP ESTATE

This family-owned winery boasts one of the most stunning estates in Wilyabrup. Pop in for an intimate tasting at its charming cellar door and taste one of its many award-winning wines from its single vineyard. These wines are recognised internationally as some of the best Cabernets and Chardonnays in the world, made by the talented winemaking team that is led by Clive Otto. Embark on a Taste of the Vineyard experience, where you will tour the immaculate Estate and manicured gardens of Gallop House, whilst sampling its Parterre wines on your journey.

CLAIRAULT STREICKER

Dine amongst the pristine native bushland at Clairault Streicker, where the modern menu features seasonal produce in a casual setting. Laze away an afternoon on a picnic blanket in the gardens or enjoy a glass of wine by the stone fireplace on those cooler days. Treat yourself to an interactive Wine Blending Experience, where you will be guided through the wine blending process to create your unique signature blend of wine. After mastering the intrinsic art of wine blending in this workshop, indulge your palate with a leisurely three-course lunch.

Bettenay's has been a labour of love.

BETTENAY's

When Greg and Terri Bettenay purchased their block of land in the heart of the Wilyabrup region back in 1989 it was a blank slate, but Greg’s background with a Honours degree in Horticulture helped to identify that the site was ideal for planting grapes. Since then the small family operation has worked hard to create what you see today, from planting the vines, building the cellar door, and even digging out the lake. Their wines are not available in bottle shops so a visit to the cellar door is the only place where you can taste and enjoy their extensive range.

GRALYN ESTATE

A quiet achiever in the story of the Wilyabrup wine sub-region, Gralyn Estate was established in 1975 by Merilyn and Graham Hutton, making them one of the first names in Margaret River wine. Now under the stewardship of their daughter Annette Baxter and husband Scott, they act as viticulturists and winemakers, continuing Gralyn Estate’s decades long journey, producing premium wine and fortifieds from non-irrigated, mature vines. Their wines are consistent medal winners and are exclusively available at Gralyn Estate’s cellar door located on Caves Road.

Walking the grounds of Fermoy Estate, Wilyabrup. Credit Ryan Murphy.
Fermoy Estate is a picturesque place to stop for a picnic. Photo credit: Ryan Murphy.

FERMOY ESTATE

Tucked just off Caves Road, Fermoy Estate has a picturesque cellar door where you can sample their range, before heading outside to the grounds with a glass of your favourite and a selection of picnic items from the gourmet food store next door. The trophy cabinet has been regularly added to over the years, with the 2019 Reserve Chardonnay in particular bringing home ‘Best in Show’ at the 2021 Decanter World Wine Awards.

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