Go absolutely anywhere in the world on any given day and you will find someone who will talk up the Margaret River Wine Region to you. It’s one of those must-do wine regions for anyone serious about experiencing the global wine trail.
Why? Its location makes it one of the most unique wine growing hot spots around – 270kms south of Perth, 6,000 km from the South Pole, 8,500 km from Africa.
The place is surrounded on three sides by ocean, it has high winter rainfall and a dry, warm Mediterranean summer – you practically turn on the tap in the Margaret River and fine wine comes out.
The reality is of course that the region is teeming with dedicated viticultural master craftsmen and women who are so in love and entrenched in the area, they know intrinsically what to do with their grapes.
They know when to trust them, when to test them, how to pair them and when to share them. If you find a really out of this world cabernet merlot blend or chardonnay from a cellar door (and you will), take one to a local sandy beach and watch the surf break as the sun sets over the ocean. Trust us.
Ranked among the world’s most famous wine regions, the Margaret River Wine Region produces 20% of Australia’s premium wines. The superior growing conditions in Australia’s South West have a big part to play in this. The even temperatures throughout the ripening season and the many rain-free days during the growing months ensure consistently high quality fruit of intense flavour.
Dr John Gladstone first highlighted the region’s suitability for wine producing in his report “The Climate and Soils of Southern WA in Relation to Vine Growing” released in 1967. Following his recommendation, the first significant vineyard was planted in 1967.
The Margaret River Wine Region is predominantly made up of small boutique wine producers, and even the cellar doors of larger wineries retain a friendly, intimate feel. The best way to determine flavour differences across the region is to visit the wineries and talk to the producers in person over a glass of wine.
From the aquamarine waters of Geographe Bay in the north, down the ancient cave-carved Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, through the picturesque vineyards and karri forests of the heartland, to the desolate beauty of Cape Leeuwin in the south, this is a place of splendid natural contrasts. Surrounded by water on three sides, the ocean forms the life rhythms of the land between the capes, its many moods governing everything from the lovely climate to the subtle nuances of another world-beating vintage.
While the backbone of the Margaret River Wine Region’s wine industry is its cabernet sauvignon, the area is also renowned for making some of the country’s best chardonnay. Other varieties that have attracted worldwide acclaim include semillon, sauvignon blanc, merlot and shiraz. Before setting out on a tasting trip, it is worth paying a visit to the Wine Tourism Showroom, located in the Margaret River Visitor Centre. Featuring sensory displays and fascinating wine making equipment, this centre is the perfect place to get a few tips from the locals.
Things to know about the Margaret River Wine Region
As well known for its exquisite wines and local delicacies as its world-class surfing conditions, Margaret River Wine Region has been a favourite with Western Australians for years. While surfers ride the waves of one of the many famous surf breaks, swimmers and snorkellers can enjoy the calm, clear waters of Geographe Bay. There are many caves to explore and the café strip in the town of Margaret River is a great place to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing. Be sure to have dinner in one of the region’s award-winning restaurants and don’t end your trip without buying some of Margaret River’s famous chocolate and homemade fudge and nougat.